JULY 18, 2007
In yet another example of the rampant waste and abuse with Congressional earmarks, a well-known Democratic lawmaker allocated $1 million taxpayer dollars to an organization that doesn’t even exist.
Even after fellow legislators questioned the money’s listed recipient, the earmark remained attached to a bill–sponsored by a separate Democratic lawmaker–that later passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.
The earmark’s sponsor was Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha, who didn’t bother confirming whether the so-called Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure, actually exists, when he sneaked it into a bill sponsored by Indiana’s Peter Visclosky.
When a fellow House member, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, questioned the suspicious earmark in his bill, Visclosky admitted that he didn’t have a clue. Flake specifically asked if the center about to receive $1 million taxpayer dollars currently exists and Visclosky said he did not know.
Lawmakers refused to strip the questionable earmark from the bill and proceeded to overwhelmingly pass it 312-112. Allocating money to entities without verifying that they exist seems to mark an all-time low for members of Congress, who are often ridiculed for voting on bills they don’t bother reading. In this case Congress earmarked an amount equal to about 40 years of salary for an average American family to an organization no one could certify as real.
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