Guess Which Republican Congressman Is Violating the GOP Earmark Moratorium?

It's actually not that hard to figure out:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has been known to say "no" to party leadership frequently during the libertarian icon's 11 terms in the House. But his recent decision to reject the House GOP's earmark ban by requesting 41 projects totaling more than $100 million for his Congressional district may not be excused.

Paul is one of a handful of Members to publicly challenge the House GOP leadership by going forward with earmark requests just two weeks after the Republican Conference adopted a one-year moratorium on the spending practice. [...]

[Paul] defended his decision to request projects, saying he needed to make sure his constituents benefited from their federal tax dollars. [...]

Paul said leaders were well aware of his opposition to the ban and his belief that earmarks increase transparency because the public can see where their federal dollars are being allocated.

"They asked me whether I would sign on to the moratorium, and I said no, it doesn't fit my philosophy because I think we should designate every penny that we spend," he said.

Previous Hit & Run commenter scrums on this topic here and here.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Uh-oh.

  • Inkblots||

    Actually, not really. While I have seen a lot of debate over earmarks on the intertubes, including the classic "they're only 2% of the budget" vs. "they grease the skids for bigger spending" arguments, what I don't believe I've ever seen discussed is that there are 2 different kinds of earmarks.

    Appropriations earmarks, that is, earmarks added to appropriations bills, have the effect of increasing Federal spending, and also likely contribute to larger spending increases, through earmark trading and as an inducement to vote through the large ticket spending items in appropriations bills just to get your district's earmarks through.

    On the other hand, "carve-out" earmarks are earmarks that aren't on an appropriations bill and therefore merely serve to allocate already appropriated funds, rather than leaving allocation of the appropriated funds entirely up to the executive branch.

    The latter type can be an important democratic tool and is part of the balance of powers; the same applies to the former, but is probably outweighed by the deleterious effects mentioned above (and, no doubt at length below). I'm not sure what bill Dr. Paul attached his earmarks to (the article is behind a registration wall), but given his remarks and what I know of his philosophy of government, I imagine they were carve-out earmarks.

  • ||

    Indeed, well-put.

  • ||

    On the other hand, "carve-out" earmarks are earmarks that aren't on an appropriations bill and therefore merely serve to allocate already appropriated funds, rather than leaving allocation of the appropriated funds entirely up to the executive branch.

    Sorry, but all earmarked federal spending is done in appropriations bills. There is no distinction between your former and latter examples.

  • Inkblots||

    You are incorrect, aaron. The definition of 'earmark', according to the Congressional Research Service:

    "Provisions associated with legislation (appropriations or general legislation) that specify certain congressional spending priorities or in revenue bills that apply to a very limited number of individuals or entities."

    I suggest you learn about a topic before you presume to correct others about it.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    This should get interesting.

  • Steve Nash Equilibrium||

    Gonna grab me some popcorn for this one!

  • ||

    "I want to make the spending of tax dollars more transparent."

    "LOOK! He admits he wants to spend your money!!!! HANG HIM!"

  • ||

    how about david frum getting pushed out AEI for making rational statements about the GOP?

  • ||

    You mean getting pushed out for saying that the GOP should have handled health care reform like Medicare Part D?

    BIG SUNDAR-- a fan of Medicare Part D?

  • Rich||

    "They asked me whether I would sign on to the moratorium, and I aid no"

    RCz strikes again.

  • Kongbucks||

    Wait, is RCz law that people sometimes make typos? I thought it had to do with irony or something.

  • ||

    RC'z Law states that a typo in a satirical (or serious) statement makes the statement funnier or closer to the truth than the correctly spelled, intended gist.

  • ||

    I think that's joez law. It's his one useful legacy.

    Oh, wait, no, joez law says that if you try to correct grammar or spelling in someone else's post the odds are high that you will make an even worse typo.

  • ||

    Oh, wait, no, joez law says that if you try to correct grammar or spelling in someone else's post the odds are high that you will make an even worse typo

    I thought that was RCw LAW

  • guy in the back row||

    I'm sure the 100 million was earmarked for white hoods.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Suck a dick.

  • ||

    "They asked me whether I would sign on to the moratorium, and I said no, it doesn't fit my philosophy because I think we should designate every penny that we spend," he said."

    I can see his point. He thinks everything should be an earmark and thus approved by an elected body rather than approved by an unelected bureaucrat. But it is not like his taking earmarks is going to accomplish that. And further why should he be so concerned that his voters get a piece of the federal looting? I thought Paul was different. Why isn't he explaining to his constituents why the spending is bad and why they shouldn't want it to happen at all much less in their district.

    I am sorry, but I can't really defend this. If really believed this spending was so wrong, he would feel guilty benefiting from it. If I stole a million dollars and started handing it out among hit and run cementers, would you think it was okay to take some of the stolen money because "it was going to go to someone why not me"? Same thing here. If taxation and spending is wrong, then benefiting from such is just as wrong.

  • Inkblots||

    Do that many people around here work in construction?

  • ||

    "Why isn't he explaining to his constituents why the spending is bad and why they shouldn't want it to happen at all much less in their district."

    He does, constantly, and he votes against the spending bill.

    "If [he] really believed this spending was so wrong, he would feel guilty benefiting from it."

    I don't think he does benefit from it. It's the area where he is criticized the most. I also disagree with your analogy. I would say its like this:

    Imagine a gang of thugs stealing stuff from everyone in your neighborhood. Then they set about giving it away to whoever they feel like. Would you feel guilty about taking some of your stuff back if they would give it to you? He votes against the spending. That part initiates the theft. But he accepts the earmarks. That part is getting back what has been stolen.

  • ||

    """If taxation and spending is wrong, then benefiting from such is just as wrong."""

    Then he's not wrong. He's not against taxes. He wants to return to the taxation as authorized by Article I of the U.S. Constitution.

  • ||

    LOL. The same Article 1 that says this: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

    Constitutional originalists kill me because they live in a world where our modern problems and attitudes were never imagined, and they have some screwed-up idea that things were perfect in the past and we should just go back to that old way of doing things. It's as if you're completely incapable of reading history as a series of crises which brought things to the state they are now. Going backward is #1 virtually impossible but even if it were, the lunacy of expecting the same kind of thinking that previously got us into trouble to now fix our problems is, well, lunacy.

    Originalism is a monstrous intellectual fraud, because what it really is is cherry-picking only the "original" elements you like out of the Constitution. All originalists ignore the fact that the Constitution established a Legislature empowered to make laws, and even modify the Constitution itself should the needs of our society require it. Our government wasn't established as a shrine to 1787, it was meant to continuously adapt to the needs of its citizens, which is why we have the right to vote, and change things.

    And even, if we deem it necessary, to do the following: "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." But Originalists, eternally obsessed with "original intent" and always armed with obscure letters with which they proclaim to know the "intent" of the Founders (and using that "intent" to insert meaning that was never present in the original Constitution) glibly pass over this very potent phrase from the Declaration of Independence which quite plainly states that the Founders never meant to erect a shrine in place of a government.

  • ||

    John,

    The least your congressman can do is get some of your tax dollars back to your district which is where the money would be spent had it not been taxed away from them.
    I can't imagine why there is such confusion over this. The system is wrong, and he's found a principled way to work within it while trying to change it. The bigger immorality is the Government theft, so the best fix is to end the theft, and that is the attempt at the earmark.

    Absent earmarks, all of the appropriations would stay in the executive branch, and the money would flow overseas in foreign aid, warfare, and typical theft by foreign governments. Please tell us you understand this.

  • ||

    Paul has always done this. He adds the earmarks to the bill, then votes "No" on it. If it passes, he gets the earmarks, if not, the bill doesn't pass and he was on the right side. His philosophy has always been if the money is going to be spent, I want some of it spent here. I see nothing wrong with it, and I live in his district.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I fucking hate social security. But they are making me pay it, one way or another I will get back every cent with interest. Every tax dollar of mine spent on shit I don't approve of, ethical or not, I am going to make sure in the end I benefit more than anyone else can, if not monetarily than by enjoying myself by pissing off the bureaucrat leeches or making them suffer.

  • ap||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff5DlpZiMZ0

  • ||

    "If I stole a million dollars and started handing it out among hit and run cementers, would you think it was okay to take some of the stolen money because "it was going to go to someone why not me""

    George Soros would. He said that very thing on 60 Minutes when explaining away why he assisted in the looting of houses of Jews sent to the camps.

  • ||

  • ||

    In fairness, I think a 14 year old Jewish boy in a country controlled by Nazis should not feel guilty about doing what it took to keep up the masquerade and survive.

    That does not excuse Soros' current support for socialists who are pushing us back down the hellish road of good intentions, but that current failure to have an epiphany of the consequences of his ideology does not in any way condemn his actions as a 14 year old.

  • ||

    Like most American Jews, Soros sees the GOP as the US precursor to fascism - in particular under Bush/Cheney. Before the year 2000 he was pretty non-partisan.

    And he promotes capitalism around the world with his Open Society Institute.

  • Robert||

    Not only capitalism, but also legal drugs & prostitution, plus free speech.

  • ||

    Guys, whatever we may think of his political leanings, the Open Society Initiative is a noble enterprise. It also opposes the national-security state and countries with restrictive immigration policies. It opposes torture. Even if he is a socialist (which I doubt; social democrat maybe), he seems to be more like a Eugene V. Debs than a Vladimir Lenin. An upstanding man of principle. I can't hate someone like that.

  • Fixed||

    Like most anti0American Jews in name only, Soros sees the GOP as the US precursor to fascism because he's projecting- in particular under Bush/Cheney because he hates them for overthrowing Saddam's fascist regime and exposing his fellow Eurosocialists' oil-for-palace scam. Before the year 2000 he was pretty non-partisan a far-left fascist and insider-trading scumbag, same as now.

    And he promotes capitalism a Gramscian communist agenda around the world with his Open Society Institute which should more appropriately be known as the Openly Socialist Idiots.

    Fuck you, shrike. You too, Robert.

  • ||

    Go back to stormfront or prisonplanet, peckerwood.

  • Ice||

    Whenever a politician rails against pork spending its all just a ploy to get their constituents to forget about the real things that are bankrupting, like entitlement spending and defence spending

  • ||

    Pork greases the skids for all the other spending by allowing leadership to bribe whoever's vote is needed to get to 50.1% (or sometimes 60 votes in the Senate).

    Thus, earmarks are bad WAY out of proportion to the amount of money actually in the earmark.

  • ||

    But this argument doesn't apply to someone who requests the earmarks but then votes No on the whole bill, which is what Ron Paul does.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Usually yes, except that Rep. Paul rails against those things too.

  • ||

    Power corrupts all. No man on a white horse will usher in "libertopia". I believe Mencken said something about democracy and political candidates; as well as the attempts of their followers to prove their mountebank is a Hero.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    It's a white BLIMP, Tristan.

    Jeeze, use your eyes.

  • ||

    Blimp, horse, whatever. Mencken's point still stands.

  • john||

    Dr. Paul has explained his position on earmarks before. The money in those earmarks has already been appropriated. If it is not designated and spent through earmarks, it is returned to the general fund to be used however the federal government sees fit, with no input from congress.

    Dr. Paul believes that there should be no income tax. Until that happens, his motive is to maintain accountability for government expenditures.

    Every now and again a uninformed or biased reporter tries to demonize Dr. Paul by leaving out pertinent information regarding earmarks.

  • ||

    Ron Paul is perhaps 85% libertarian.

    His views on pork is part of the 15%.

    Still better, on average, than most anyone else in the U.S. House -- which implies a really low bar being set.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I see it as his views on pork being both libertarian in some ways and not so in others.

  • Tomcat1066||

    IIRC, he grabs all the earmarks he can, then votes against the budget. A little more libertarian than JUST grabbing pork. Maybe not by much, but still some. What also matters, to me at least, is how he campaigns. If he campaigns on bringing home the pork, then he's as bad as the rest. If not, then he's not necessarily.

    Frankly, if we actually had enough libertarians up there, this would be a moot point. Just a damn shame it's not.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think part of his point here is that since his constituents taxes are not going to go down by elimating earmarks he needs to try and get as much of their tax money back to them as he can. If eliminating earmarks actually decreased spending then that would be a different story. It's like when they said if you voted no on the "stimulas" you shouldn't take any of the money. That's great if you have the option of not paying the taxes to fund it, otherwise that's just a BS argument.

  • ||

    If eliminating earmarks actually decreased spending then that would be a different story. It's like when they said if you voted no on the "stimulas" you shouldn't take any of the money.

    I don't think that the two are quite equivalent. Earmarks are very often used to get people to support a wider spending package. (Of course, Paul may still vote against final passage.) Simply accepting money that comes according to an unbiased formula or competitive process is a little different. (Though if you exert enough control over the competitive process or formula, it can amount to the same thing.)

  • Some dude||

    Wait a minute, Ron Paul voted for earmarks? That doesn't sound like him.

  • ||

    He didn't vote for them. He requested that they be inserted into a bill that he's going to vote against. That way, if the bill passes in spite of his no vote, it will still include money spent in his district. He does it all the time. And he's right to do it.

  • rho||

    I don't get the complaints about Ron Paul on earmarks. Seems to me he's explained very clearly why he does what he does. You don't have to agree, but to suggest he's somehow lying or being hypocritical is nonsense.

    It's like DONDEROOOOO! and his nonsensical assertion that Paul is 100% right on domestic policy and 100% wrong on foreign policy. His opinions on foreign policy is based on the same set of principles that guides his opinions on domestic policy. The cognitive dissonance lies with the so-called "libertarian republicans". I.e., "The federal government is incapable and incompetent at running the American economy. However they are totally bitchin' at running the world!" Derrrrrrr.

  • Some dude||

    Ron Paul has never voted for a bloated, earmark-ridden budget.

    So I don't know what the complaint is.

  • ||

    It should not be that difficult to understand what Ron Paul has said about earmarks. Though he opposes them and tries to change the system, he must operate within the existing system.

    He is the ONLy principled member of Congress, although the concept of principled seems too far removed from Reason Hit and Run bloggers for them to have any understanding of it. They're too busy trying to smear Dr. Paul.

  • ||

    How is the content of Matt's post a smear, or even a criticism?

    You're too busy defending Rep. Dr. Paul from an imagined smear to read the post.

  • Oh no not this again||

    Ron Paul has more credibility in his one finger than say Andrew Breitbart.

  • Fixed||

    Ron Paul Andrew Breitbart has more credibility in his one finger the smallest dingleberry on any of his butt hairs than say Andrew Breitbart Ron Paul.

  • Soap||

    Wash your foul petulant mouth! *unzips*

  • Jim||

    That doesn't exactly say much.

  • ||

    reason has, for some reason, continuously disparaged Dr. Paul since he became a big name. One wonders why.

  • ||

    How is the post by Matt disparagement? Do you care to even read it? You give Dr. Paul a bad name by associating him with you.

  • ||

    reason has, for some reason, continuously disparaged Dr. Paul since he became a big name. One wonders why.

  • Robert||

    Look at the name, "reason". Unfortunately behind, or mixed in with, the libertarian tendency is a belief in science. Yes, that does lead to a greater trust in unelected bureaucrats (read: technocrats) than in representative democracy. I only wish Robert L. Formaini's "The Myth of Scientific Public Policy" got wider play and had been expanded.

  • ||

    so the people in Ron Paul's district are not entitled to see some of their hard earned tax dollars back in their community? Earmarks are a better way to track money than back room deals and special treatment from our mafia-style government. I trust Ron Paul. I see his words match his actions. Can you show me any congressmen or woman who ran their congressional office with a surplus and returned the money back to the treasury? This man is truly principled and to try to tarnish his character is your right but at least get your facts straight.

  • ||

    Republicans are always telling me I'll never get a libertopia, so I should suck it up and compromise with them. Fine, I choose Paul, Flake and Ryan. The rest can go fuck themselves.

  • ||

    "But his recent decision to reject the House GOP's earmark ban by requesting 41 projects totaling more than $100 million for his Congressional district may not be excused."

    You guys are aware that he's a politician, right?

    ...and never more so than when he's talking to his base?

    That means you.

  • ||

    A huge milestone in the fight for liberty and representation of the people (even if then it was just nobles) came with the Magna Carta putting the power of the purse, where money is spent, in the hands of the legislature. Our Constitution adopted that important feature as its most basic 'separation of powers' and restriction on the executive. To NOT designate where appropriated money goes is to give a blank check to the executive office, for administrators to give away secretly, behind closed doors.

    Ron Paul is right.

  • ||

    Weird how Reason tries to discredit the most libertarian member of Congress. Out of all the statist things the rest of the Republican party does on a daily basis, they choose to go after Ron Paul instead...

  • Colin||

    If you are not critical of your own, you're simply not critical.

    And Reason goes after everyone.

  • $||

    READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE! Where is the discrediting? Quote it.

  • robc||

    But his recent decision to reject the House GOP's earmark ban by requesting 41 projects totaling more than $100 million for his Congressional district may not be excused.

  • ||

    But his recent decision to reject the House GOP's earmark ban by requesting 41 projects totaling more than $100 million for his Congressional district may not be excused.

    Uhmm..If you look at the whole paragraph, the context clearly implies that it wont be excused by GOP leadership.

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has been known to say "no" to party leadership frequently during the libertarian icon's 11 terms in the House. But his recent decision to reject the House GOP's earmark ban by requesting 41 projects totaling more than $100 million for his Congressional district may not be excused.
  • Colin||

    He's always been one of the worst porkers in Congress. In some ways, it's more bothersome than the newsletters.

    I guess, with his unorthodox views, he wouldn't get reelected otherwise.

  • Turnkey||

    I would tend to be sympathetic toward Paul's position. I'm not crazy about how my state loses money to subsidize Alaska.

  • ||

    Should people stop using roads because they are funded by gasoline taxes. We are forced to pay those taxes.

    Ideally, people should not receive any money from the government nor pay taxes either.

  • ||

    I am happy most people described quite well why doctor paul uses earmarks. It is definetly obvious to people wo understand politics. This is a smear peace simply because of the title. Look at its title its meant to smear him for all the people who don't read the whole article and see it as a passby. It has already been absolutely explained by everyone who understands politics. Pork is responsible spending until the taxation system changes. He constantly tries to change the taxation system and always votes to do so.

  • Hacha Cha||

    he adds earmarks but doesn't actually vote for the bill. the feds stole money from the people of his district, so he adds earmarks for his district to try and bring some of that money back home. but he votes against the spending because he doesn't believe in wealth redistribution and big government spending, if there are enough big government politicians willing to pass massive spending bills some of that spending should be done on the people who had their money taken from them. I understand it and you really can't blame him, if he wants to stay elected he has to please his constituents. unless there is bipartisan support for cutting spending, the republican moratorium is just symbolic and won't really slow down government spending.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    It doesn't look to me from what Matt wrote, that he's taking a clear side on this. Nor is Reason, from past posts. It's easy enough to see why if you think about it, because the right answer to the issue at hand is not clear. I'd personally side with Paul, but I understand Flake's argument just as well.

    OTOH, Suderman's recent post that "half a repeal of Obamacare is no repeal" is pure BS. That's a surprising thing coming from someone who's supposed to be a principled advocate of individual rights and freedoms.

    Overall Obamacare is business as usual for Washington, which is bad enough. Take from the rich to give to the poor (or rich as the case may be).

    Obamacare is something worse for putting us on the path to bankruptcy. But money is money, and principles are principles. Not inter-changable entities.

    The individual insurance mandate is a vast expansion of federal powers. Let it stand, and we will see more of them coming out of D.C. for sure. Upon which America as we know it actually will have died.

    In contrast to Matt's recent post saying "get a grip, Obamacare ain't really that bad", I think Reason is missing the proverbial boat here.

    The individual mandate matters, more than anything else. At least fight to repeal that. Yes we should try to overturn all of it, but political prospects for the near term look poor.

    Over turning the individual mandate, maybe not so much.

    Reason, of all the intelligentsia leaders out there, ought to be ringing this bell and running this banner up the flag pole.

    The rest of Obamacare is Washington business as usual, writ large. The individual mandate is absolutely not, and it must not go unopposed.

    Does anybody think the Republicans are going to be smart enough to see this, or have the balls to fight it? The best our thin libertarians ranks can hope to do is shame them into it.

  • .||

    Anyone else think the "earmarking is inherently evil" line is a gripe as dated and piddling in the current milieu of orgiastic spending as it was superficial and diversionary when a few big government "conservatives" made it their grandstand for fiscal pseudo-outrage?

    I am sure there were similar protests from Russian generals who wanted the ICBM aimed at Jersey City rather than Times Square.

  • ||

    A moratorium for 1 year only shows just how serious the GOP is on this issue.

    It is a political stunt.

  • ||

    Seems counter intuitive but the alternative is to let the Obama administration spend the money however it wants.

  • ||

    A suppose people are calling this a "smear" because of the mocking picture? No doubt, Ron Paul is the most limited-gov person in the Congress. It's quite surreal to hear people use this to accuse Ron of supporting 'big gov.'

    Agree with this previous post:

    Dr. Paul has explained his position on earmarks before. The money in those earmarks has already been appropriated. If it is not designated and spent through earmarks, it is returned to the general fund to be used however the federal government sees fit, with no input from congress.

    Dr. Paul believes that there should be no income tax. Until that happens, his motive is to maintain accountability for government expenditures.

  • Brad Potts||

    Isn't this money appropriated prior to being allocated by earmarks.

    I don't see what is wrong with fighting spending, but then making sure your constituents get their share when the government goes ahead and spends anyways.

    Dr. Paul has explicitly made this argument very consistently, and he has been shouted down by the GOP, whose only actual principle is that rational, informed opinions should never be voiced.

  • ||

    Earmarks are one form of tax recovery. If the government is going to spend my money anyway, I expect my congressman to get it back in one form or another.

  • Galileo||

    Ron Paul voted against the earmarks. Those who actually voted FOR the earmarks are the ones who deserve scorn.

  • ||

    One question..how many of the earmarks he inserted did he actually vote yes on? That's the real question. His stance is that the money will be spent one way or another and that his constituants deserve to get as much of their tax money back as the next state. Seems fair to me. But he wont support anything thats not constitutionally correct. If the rest of congress passes his earmark then thats their vote. He will vote NO. Get it right or go home and keep your fingers off the keyboard.

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