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      01-15-2008, 12:09 PM   #1
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Pork barrel spending

Many elected officials will speak against earmarks (known as pork barrel spending). The most well known one of recent years was the bridge to nowhere in Alaska. What are some examples of earmarks that are particularly egregious?
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      01-15-2008, 12:10 PM   #2
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Murtha Led Congress in Earmarks

Monday, January 14, 2008 12:31 PM

By: Newsmax Staff Article Font Size

Democratic Rep. John Murtha led all House members in earmarks last year, procuring $162 million in “pork” for his congressional district.

Murtha — an outspoken critic of the Iraq war and powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee — secured earmarks in the defense budget for 26 beneficiaries. Every one of them has contributed to his campaign, giving a total of $413,250, according to the newspaper Roll Call.

That is “a gross example of quid pro quo Washington,” the New York Times states in an editorial.

The Times cites one example of Murtha’s largesse. In 1991, he used a $5 million earmark to create the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence in Johnstown, the largest city in his district. The company was set up to develop anti-pollution technology for the military.

Since then, it has received more than $670 million in contracts and earmarks. But an investigation by the Washington Post, found that little of the center's work has been widely used or deployed by the Defense Department.

The Center is managed by another contractor Murtha helped to create, Concurrent Technologies, a research firm that was allowed to be set up as a tax-exempt charity, according to the Post. Concurrent now has annual revenue of nearly $250 million, and the salaries of its top three executives average $462,000 a year.

The Times observes that Murtha’s “universe” is a “costly creation of interlocking contractors who continue to feed at the public trough despite reviews questioning their performance.”

© 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
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      01-15-2008, 01:32 PM   #3
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Citizens Against Governement Waste reports:

Rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio) added a $300,000 Economic Development Initiative (EDI) grant for earmarking funds for a public restroom and gas station.

"Iím probably more proud of this earmark and what it will do in the future than anything Iíve ever done.Ē -David Hobson
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      01-15-2008, 02:55 PM   #4
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Over 60 BILLION in earmarks ... and now Congress is thinking about a 40 cent gas tax ... thank you Harry and Nancy ... you have no clue! No wonder your approval rating is the lowest of any Congress in the history of approval ratings. So, all you brain dead freaks out there who blame big oil for gas prices, what are you going to say when the price of gas goes up 50 cents because of your government …. Still going to blame big oil?? Anyone that would vote for any of these Liberal Democrats is missing a top floor.
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      01-15-2008, 05:08 PM   #5
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Is Pork Barrel Spending Ready to Explode? The Anatomy of an Earmark

"A news item appearing this November [2004] in a Virginia newspaper reveals the emergence of what may be a lucrative new lobbying strategy that could substantially increase federal pork-barrel spending." "...in this new strategy, lobbyists openly sell such services to unserved institutions and individuals by convincing them that they might be eligible for an earmark, providing that they are willing to pay a four-figure monthly retainer."


"The lobbyist is proposing to sell something that is not really his to sell. That he believes he can deliver it tells us that something is terribly wrong in Congress. It is one thing for members of Congress to make pork-barrel spending promises to their constituents and deliver on them, but it is quite another that earmarks can be bought and sold like bushels of wheat on the open market by private speculators."

"Between 1997 and 2004, appropriations earmarks have increased from under 2,000 to over 10,000, and this year’s failed highway reauthorization contained more than 3,000 pork-barrel earmarks, compared to 1,800 in the previous bill and only 10 in the highway bill passed by Congress in 1982."
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      01-15-2008, 05:13 PM   #6
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Pork Barrel Spending - The Absurd

$107,000 to study the sex life of the Japanese quail.
$1.2 million to study the breeding habits of the woodchuck.
$150,000 to study the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
$84,000 to find out why people fall in love.
$1 million to study why people don't ride bikes to work.
$19 million to examine gas emissions from cow flatulence.
$144,000 to see if pigeons follow human economic laws.
Funds to study the cause of rudeness on tennis courts and examine smiling patterns in bowling alleys.
$219,000 to teach college students how to watch television.
$2 million to construct an ancient Hawaiian canoe.
$20 million for a demonstration project to build wooden bridges.
$160,000 to study if you can hex an opponent by drawing an X on his chest.
$800,000 for a restroom on Mt. McKinley.
$100,000 to study how to avoid falling spacecraft.
$16,000 to study the operation of the komungo, a Korean stringed instrument.
$1 million to preserve a sewer in Trenton, NJ, as a historic monument.
$6,000 for a document on Worcestershire sauce.
$10,000 to study the effect of naval communications on a bull's potency.
$100,000 to research soybean-based ink.
$1 million for a Seafood Consumer Center.
$57,000 spent by the Executive Branch for gold-embossed playing cards on Air Force Two.

Total: $ 45,980,000
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      01-15-2008, 05:22 PM   #7
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Kline says no dice to pork-barrel spending

It's the political equivalent of a hunger strike.

...at the beginning of his third term, Kline put local officials on notice that he would not sponsor special spending requests for his district...

Kline is one of only a dozen out of 435 House members to do so. The reviews have been mixed so far.

"It's shocking and disturbing," said Dakota County Commissioner Will Branning, who heads a partnership working on the Cedar Avenue transit project, which was looking for about $6 million from Congress this year. "For one congressman to do it, it puts us in a box."
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      01-15-2008, 05:55 PM   #8
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On this website there are a few ways to look at the data about the pork in transportation bills.

H.R. 3 (2005)--final version as signed by President on August 10, 2005

Here is a sample screenshot of one view:
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      01-15-2008, 06:01 PM   #9
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Target the pork

"In February, Democrats took the spending bills they had inherited from the Republican Congress and stripped them of all earmarks, with incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) patting himself so hard on the back for his party's fiscal restraint that he was in danger of spraining something. He then turned around and wrote to federal agencies asking them to fund many of the projects that had been eliminated from the bills, according to research by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Reid was far from alone; lawmakers from both parties wrote to agencies appealing for projects in their districts."
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