Corruption

What's $7 Billion When You're Ready to Blow 100 Times As Much?

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As Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) notes, "This all may seem a little trivial in a week [when] we may approve $700 billion," but the $630 billion omnibus spending bill Congress is finishing up includes some $6.6 billion in earmarks. The biggest pork puller in the Senate is the indicted Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, who will be going out with a bang if he's convicted of illegally hiding corporate gifts and is forced from office. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, Stevens is responsible for 39 earmarks totaling $239 million. In the House, The New York Times reports, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) leads with "30 items totaling $111 million, including $24.5 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, his hometown." That's $1.5 million more than his last earmark proposal for the intelligence center, which presumably is the main reason drug warriors are so smart.

While Flake, a leading fiscal consrervative, regrets the way the pending Wall Street bailout has defined congressional profligacy up (or is it down?), many of his colleagues welcome it:

Mr. Murtha told reporters that earmarks were just a tiny fraction of "what the administration wants to bail out those rich guys in New York."

Other lawmakers said the earmarks were a way of tossing a few bones to Main Street, before the Treasury pours hundreds of billions of dollars onto Wall Street.

As I predicted in January, earmark sponsors easily circumvented President Bush's executive order telling agencies to ignore spending instructions not included in the body of legislation. According to Times, "the omnibus spending bill says that the lists of earmarks, though not included in the bill, 'are hereby required by law to be carried out' by federal agencies, just as if they were in the bill."

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  1. Mr. Murtha told reporters that earmarks were just a tiny fraction

    A million here, a trillion there…

  2. who will be going out with a bang if he’s convicted of illegally hiding corporate gifts and is forced from office.

    Then shouldn’t nearly all of them be forced from office?

  3. I’m just stunnd by the daily doings of our out-of-control government. It’s no surprise that the Pelosi congress is in cahoots again with Bush to enlarge the government and destroy the country.

    Only the dissident Republicans in congress are serving the American people. And as far as Obama and McCain, both are totally out to lunch. Obama does what Pelosi tells him to do; and McCain does what the voices in his head tell him to do.

  4. Fucking John Murtha, what a cocksucker. I hereby move that Fucking John Murtha, Cocksucker Extraordinaire, be heretofore referred to by his full and proper name.

  5. Here’s hoping that some amateur aviators with box cutters do the job on the National Drug Intelligence Center-for real.

  6. Just heard on NPR: Calls and letters to Congress and Senators are 100:1 against a bailout. Keep ’em comin’, guys. Hammer the shit of these people.

  7. That’s $1.5 million more than his last earmark proposal for the intelligence center, which presumably is the main reason drug warriors are so smart.

    Ouch.

  8. “””National Drug Intelligence Center”””

    What’s the odds they will have access to domestic spying networks that were authorized for terrorism.

  9. “””The biggest pork puller in the Senate is the indicted Alaska Republican Ted Stevens”””

    I wonder what Palin’s thinks about this spending. Someone should ask her how much of it AK should give back?

  10. The biggest pork puller in the Senate is the indicted Alaska Republican Ted Stevens

    I’m surprised someone from Alaska is known for barbecue.

    I’ll have that sandwich with the slaw and the hot sauce, please.

  11. Big government neocons LOVE Stevens, and willingly forgive his porky behavior, while claiming not to. It’s not workin’ anymore after 2+ decades, folks…We know you’re all just liars, and I’m willing to admit it for neoconservatives everywhere.

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