Symptom of the Disease: $300 million in earmarks benefit political elite

Wynton Hall over at Big Government points to a Washington Post article posted online yesterday detailing earmark projects that benefited property and business owners who happened to be congress-critters who either sponsored or voted for the earmark.

Of the example items listed in Hall’s piece, I can find only one that might be categorized as Constitutional since it was used to improve an interstate highway interchange. Everything else was local projects, not benefiting the national welfare and as such completely unconstitutional in my opinion.

From the Washington Post

A U.S. senator from Alabama directed more than $100 million in federal earmarks to renovate downtown Tuscaloosa near his own commercial office building. A congressman from Georgia secured $6.3 million in taxpayer funds to replenish the beach about 900 feet from his island vacation cottage. A representative from Michigan earmarked $486,000 to add a bike lane to a bridge within walking distance of her home.

Thirty-three members of Congress have directed 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, according to a Washington Post investigation.

Under the ethics rules Congress has written for itself, this is both legal and undisclosed.

And yes, both Republicans and Democrats are listed. Certainly, when federal government funds are used to improve local roads, you can always make an association with a congress-critter from a local area who may have sponsored or voted for legislation that put those funds into local hands. There is no getting around it and both liberals and conservatives can point to each other all day long. “Well, you got this … well you got this … but you got this, and I got none of it…”

Winners and losers, and simply another example of symptoms of the disease.

If you want to see the entire list, it’s available – with responses from the local congress-critters – in this Capital Assets investigation piece in the Post.

If you want to actually cure the disease, stop the federal government from funding any project it is not authorized to fund per Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution. If you want it … pay for it at the local and/or state level.

And yes, that means your local property taxes and state taxes will necessarily skyrocket, hopefully offset by a tremendously huge drop in your federal taxes.

Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on February 7, 2012 at 11:40 am

    What we need is a citizen’s “frivolity board” that can verify the need and Constitutional validity of earmarks and associated legislation, with a “loser pays double” penalty, i.e. the state who is proposed to get the benefit is assessed at double the value of the earmark if it is determined that it is “frivolous” or self serving to the rep/senator that proposed it.? Oh yeah: personal fines for the offending pol as well.

    • GdavidH on February 7, 2012 at 8:12 pm



    • Lynn on February 11, 2012 at 7:21 am

      I think this is an awesome idea. Only I think it could be a Businessman Board. I nominate Cain for Chairmen and dare I say it, Trump as Vice Chair and Erskine Bowles and Joe Leiberman? as Dem representation.

    • Lynn on February 11, 2012 at 7:25 am

      Oh sorry, as I was searching for appropriate Dems? I was too hasty. Obviously my Dem choices aren’t businessmen. But, I’m sure there is someone besides Warren Buffet.

  2. sammy22 on February 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Amusing perhaps. In the real-politic world what is being suggested and the winners-losers syndrome will simply not go away.

    • GdavidH on February 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Sooooo….You surrender?
      LAME! Baaahhhh! (meant to represent a sheep noise).

  3. sammy22 on February 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Sooooo…one picks one own’s battles. This is not one I am interested in fighting.

    • Dimsdale on February 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      In some circles, that is called complacency.? Or tacit permission.

  4. ricbee on February 8, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Well where the hell are the 33 names?

  5. SeeingRed on February 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Earmarks should be illegal, period.? I don’t care about all of the reasons why from the professional, pampered lying class in Washington (both sides).? Vote Tea Party – always.

  6. sammy22 on February 10, 2012 at 11:45 am

    In some circles, Dims, the constant ranting is called “p… against the wind”.

    • Lynn on February 11, 2012 at 7:23 am

      Well, at least that’s a necessary bodily function.

    • Dimsdale on February 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

      As opposed to pols “p…ing” on you leg and calling it rain….? 😉


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