Kentucky Congressman Forces Citizens to Waste $17,000 on Each Helicopter Drip Pan
Monday, May 21, 2012
"Prince of Pork" Hal Rogers
Why would the Department of Defense spend $17,000 for a helicopter drip pan when it could buy the same component for one-eighth the cost? Because a powerful congressman wants it this way.
The pricey drip pan, which catches leaky transmission fluid on Black Hawks, is manufactured by Phoenix Products at their plant in Maceo, Kentucky. That’s the same state that elected Representative Hal Rogers, the Republican in charge of the House Appropriations Committee.
It is Rogers who was responsible three years ago for authorizing the deal with Phoenix Products. Known as the “prince of pork,” Rogers has been adept at funneling federal tax dollars to his home state to the benefit of the drip pan manufacturer and other companies. He once secured hauled in $7.1 million of taxpayer money to upgrade a half-mile strip of the street where he lives.
There is a less expensive alternative to spending $17,000 on the pans. But it resides in a different state, North Carolina actually, where VX Aerospace produces a pan for another type of helicopter (UH-46) for $2,500 each.
The owner of Phoenix, Tom Wilson, and his wife, Peggy, who is president of the company, have donated to Rogers’ political committee, while Rogers has helped Phoenix snag more than $17 million worth of federal contracts since 2000.
To Learn More:
Earmark Puts $17,000 Pans on Army Craft (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)
33 Members of Congress Directed Federal Projects within 2 Miles of Own Property(by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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