DECEMBER 27, 2007
When Democrats took over the majority in Congress, they promised to drastically cut the amount of taxpayer dollars that annually go to pet projects in the form of earmarks yet 11,000 such allocations were attached to a pair of recently approved bills.
Lawmakers from both parties managed to get millions of dollars for their special hometown causes by slipping the earmarks into the $555 billion annual spending bill approved by Congress just last week and the $459 billion defense bill passed in November.
The so-called pork spending includes $20 million secured by Alaska Senator Ted Stevens for a ferry that will connect Anchorage with a rural peninsula, $9 million for “rural domestic preparedness” in Kentucky, $250,000 for a wine and culinary center in Prosser Washington and $100,000 for signage in a southern California city’s fashion district.
A museum in Canton Ohio got a $126,000 federal earmark sponsored by the Republican representative (Ralph Regula) whose wife founded the facility and whose daughter currently operates it. Over the years Regula has requested and received hundreds of thousands of federal dollars for his family’s precious project.
In Virginia, a handful of lawmakers continue to sponsor earmarks worth more than $10 million for a company, ProLogic Inc, under federal investigation for possible wrongdoing related to receiving federal dollars. This hasn’t deterred legislators from continuing to steer valuable taxpayer dollars to the company, however.
A nonprofit group that tracks all Congressional earmarks annually publishes an informative chart with a breakdown of where the taxpayer dollars go. This year’s allocations were recently made available by the group, which refers to earmarks as a “bipartisan affliction.”
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