The Washington Post has an incredible article today on how thirty-three members of Congress have more than $300 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ own property. So much for the pledges from both Republicans and Democrats to clean up government.
The Post notes one U.S. Senator pushed through more than $100 million in federal earmarks to renovate downtown Tuscaloosa near his own commercial office building while a Georgia congressman grabbed $6.3 million in taxpayer funds “to replenish the beach about 900 feet from his island vacation cottage.”
I have previously written (here and here) about the sordid ethical rules and procedures in Congress, including the lack of serious conflict of interest rules. This is due to how the ethics rules are written by the members themselves to allow for such self-advancing bills.
Source: Washington Post
15 thoughts on “Washington Post: Thirty-Three Members Push Through More Than $300 Million In Earmarks For Projects Near Their Own Properties”
Rafflaw, while you may be technically right that “the Washington Post’s idea of a politician benefitting personally from earmarks is stretched quite a bit for some some of these”, considering the scope of corruption and just downright perversion of “public service” extant in politics, I can forgive a little, or even a little more, erring on the side of loose definitions here.
Kind of reminds me, in a loosely analogous way, of the tsk tskng that takes place when Federal prosecutors lament how they just cannot prosecute the banksters because, as even Obama has predetermined/prejudged/poisoned the water, they didn’t do anything “illegal”. To me, you find any hook to hang a prosecutorial effort on, and let the court do the culling. If it isn’t a role of prosecutors to attempt to prosecute acknowledged maleficent behavior of the magnitude we’ve seen — at least to send a message that we’re watching, and we’re going to attempt to hold you liable — well I just give up.
The actual WaPo headline looks like they stole it from the Onion: “Congressional earmarks sometimes used to fund projects near lawmakers’ properties”
remember the alternative to earmarks is allowing the President to make all these decisions. the critical point is to make the earmark process transparent with sufficient time for public review.
While I do not like earmarks, it does seem, upon closer examination, that the Washington Post’s idea of a politician benefitting personally from earmarks is stretched quite a bit for some some of these.
The whole business of insider trading (though an outrage of it’s own) is but a sideshow to this kind of self-serving plundering of the treasury. It’s just brazen theft. These people truly have no shame.
This is an example of how the internet could be employed to cast light on the workings of Congress. We need a site that publishes every bill passes with every nuance tucked in the bill highlighted or put in bold when the buzzer goes off in the heads of the editors. It could be along the lines of Scotusblog. There could be a button to push for Earmarks of the Day.
Theft of the Month. Dog of the Week. oops. Two Legged Fraud.
The whole idea of beach replenishment and the millions spent a year on doing so is outrageous in an of itself…
Then you add the fact that it nearly ALWAYS benefits the rich who can afford multi-million dollar beach houses with private beaches being the ones replenished and you’re ready to strangle somebody…
When it turns out a congressman pushes through $6.3 million to replenish a beach right on his vacation island, I don’t even know how to react.
Treason has several definitions, this is one:
“the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.”
It is time we start holding those who have fiduciary control to a much higher standard and start treating those who squander public funds as carrying out petty treason.
Well said Jill. If we can find a leader who can’t be bought and controlled, and really want’s to clean up Washington, would be great. The only person on the horizon that I see is Ron Paul. He’s getting my vote no matter what happens.
Where’s that horsewhip?
I might as well pile on:
“Democrats as well as Republicans are resisting, looking to protect home turf from California, where the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft is built, to Wisconsin, home to speedy Littoral combat ships, to military installations all across the country.”
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/02/06/national/w004757S63.DTL#ixzz1liAF4E4U
Jill thanks for the post. I was going to post a “shakes his head” post, but shaking ones head may not be enough.
FIRE THEM ALL, THEN TRY THEM ALL and THEN RECOVER ALL THEIR PAYOLA AND ILL GOTTEN WEALTH but then reach deeper into those that pull their strings.
The US govt. is in process of transferring public money to private gains–full stop. It is a real mistake to see this as evil Republicans verses saintly Democrats. That is the side show to keep people from understanding what is actually happening. It is also a real mistake to think this is only happening in the US.
The lights are out and we need to turn them on, in our own minds, and shine a light on the systemic looting of public goods to private gains. The govt. that we can see, the sideshow, works to accomplish this for the real govt., the one we don’t see, the one that consists of the military, financial and other corporate tyrants. They have no loyalty to party, the rule of law, nothing.
As a reward for serving as middle management, the president and the Congress get to keep some of the looting. That’s how a totalitarian system rewards it’s middle management. We can throw a wrench into the system by electing people who do not serve the real govt. We can do this. Our mind may tell us we cannot, but we can. There are candidates out there who are not beholden to the military/financial/corporate interests. Find them, vote for them. In addition, and more importantly, peacefully resist the looting of public goods into private hands. Turn on the lights!!!
The lights are already off. We just dont know it yet.
Will the last one out please turn off the lights please….
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