33 Members of Congress Directed Federal Projects within 2 Miles of Own Property
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Sen. Harry Reid
Another example (33 to be precise) of why earmarks are a bad idea has come by way of a Washington Post investigation.
After going through congressional records on spending, the newspaper found 33 representatives and senators had directed more than $300 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to public projects located next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ personal property.
Among the lucky legislators are:
· Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who brought in $21.5 million to build a bridge over the Colorado River to link the gambling resort of Laughlin, Nevada, with Bullhead City, Arizona, where Reid owns 160 acres of undeveloped land.
· Representative Harold Rogers (R-Kentucky), who hauled in $7.1 million to upgrade a half-mile strip of the street where he lives.
· Representative Jack Kingston (R-Georgia), who co-sponsored a $6.3 million earmark to replenish the beach on Tybee Island 900 feet from a cottage he owns.
· Representative John Oliver (D-Massachusetts), who secured $5.1 million for a road project that begins 209 feet from his 15-acre home.
· Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland), who has directed $4.5 million in roadwork since 2005 to upgrade a Frederick County interchange at Interstate 270 and Buckeystown Pike. It just so happens that Bartlett’s home, farm and rental properties are located near the interchange.
· Representative Todd Akin (R-Missouri), who brought in $3.3 million in taxpayer money to upgrade part of Route 141 west of St. Louis. Less than a half-mile east of Route 141, Akin and his family own nine acres upon which they have applied to construct six homes.
· Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), who was responsible for a $900,000 earmark that helped pave two dozen roads in Mississippi, including LC Turner Circle, a residential loop that features two homes owned by the Thompson family.
· Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina), who obtained $817,500 to revitalize buildings less than three-quarters of a mile from 19 properties he owns.
· Representative Darrell Issa (R-California), who brought in $815,000 in earmarks to widen a road less than a mile from a medical building he then bought and sold.
· Representative Doc Hastings (D-Washington), who secured $750,000 to build a bridge three blocks from land and a building that he owns that includes a janitorial business he used to own, but is now operated by someone else…his brother.
Every one of the Congress members defended their earmarks by saying they helped local communities and that they personally didn’t really benefit from the projects…much.
The Post also discovered “16 lawmakers who sent tax dollars to companies, colleges or community programs where their spouses, children or parents work as salaried employees or serve on boards.”
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Congressional Earmarks Sometimes Used To Fund Projects Near Lawmakers' Properties (by David S. Fallis, Scott Higham and Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post)
Public Projects, Private Interests (Washington Post)
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