Saturday, June 14, 2008

Earmark Spending Makes a Comeback

Here we go again....

From wapo:
More than a year after Congress pledged to curb pork barrel funding known as earmarks, lawmakers are gearing up for another spending binge, directing billions toward organizations and companies in their home districts.

Earmark spending in the House's defense authorization bill alone soared 29 percent last month, from $7.7 billion last year to $9.9 billion now, according to data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group in the District. The Senate bill has not been approved, but the proposal includes an increased number of earmarks, although for a slightly lesser total cost.

Lawmakers had promised to cut back on earmarks and mandated better disclosure of them after steady criticism that they were funding programs with little debate or oversight. The promises led to an initial decline in earmarks last year that was trumpeted on Capitol Hill. But the new data show that they are surging again, at least in the proposed Pentagon authorization budget, which sets out priorities to be funded in a later appropriations bill.
Yeah, touting it was down, business as usual is the name of the game. Did any of you believe the democrats promise to drain the swamp? Heck, they created the swamp!
The data compiled by the watchdog group show that 60 percent of the members of the House Armed Services Committee who arranged earmarks also received campaign contributions from the companies that received the funding. Almost all the members of the committee received campaign contributions from companies that got earmarks this year.

"It's corrupting. It's a much bigger problem than the sum of its parts. It's much more than just waste," said Flake, who has criticized both Republican and Democratic colleagues for questionable earmarked projects. "One good defense earmark can yield tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions."

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), for instance, requested a $4 million earmark for Digital Fusion, a company whose executives have recently donated $18,000 to the lawmaker. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) also inserted a $5.4 million earmark for Clean Earth Technologies, whose executives have donated $14,000 to him.
Yup, no problem here!
The requests by Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, included earmarks to General Motors, whose executives have recently donated $29,000 to the senator, according to the watchdog group. Levin's office did not respond to a request for comment.

The issue of earmarks is not going to go away anytime soon. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill), the presumptive Democratic nominee for the White House, disclosed in March that he had sought $740 million in earmarks over the past three years, about a third of which received funding. He has also proposed legislation requiring better disclosure of earmarks before they are approved. GOP rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), one of the sharpest earmark critics in Congress, has made it a point to buck the trend and avoid asking for earmarks.
Yup, the candidate for change! LOL! He wants change alright, he wants more communism in this country, commie light, which we already are, is not good enough for him!
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