Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Earmark Murtha
Update to include Young

John Murtha (D-PA) has the reputation in the US House as the "King of Pork" because of the number and amount of Government Dollars (Our Tax Money) he has been able to bring to his district over his years of "service" to America. Recently "Drudge" revealed that another of Rep. Murtha's Earmarks was questioned by Jeff Flake (R-AZ). The amount of the Earmark is $1,000,000.00 for "Concurrent Technologies Corporation" but also mentioned in the request is "The Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure" was attached to a Bill submitted by Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN).

Rep. Flake's staff could find no web site for "The Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure" through a Google search. When Rep. Visclosky was asked if the Center existed, Rep. Visclosky's response was that "at this time I do not know" if it exists or not.

Information is intentionally vague about Earmarks, but one fact about Earmarks is the connection between the beneficiary recipient and contributions to a Campaign Fund. Following the "Drudge Link" brings up this post at "The Crypt".
Concurrent Technologies Corporation, [is] a nonprofit technological consulting firm. A brief search of campaign finance records shows CTC President and CEO Daniel R. DeVos, of alternately Central City and Johnstown, Pa. has contributed $7,000 to Murtha's reelection campaign since April 2002.
Earmarks are used by members of the House to restrict how Appropriated Monies (Our Tax Dollars) can be spent. The effect of an Earmark is to dictates where this money must be spent by carving a chunk out of an appropriation without regard to need.
Despite the money's uncertain destination, the House rejected Flake's measure to strike the funds, 326-98. And the Visclosky bill also sailed through, 312-112.
Don't misunderstand. I have no problem with Congress approving money for projects. But I do have a problem with the secrecy and hidden nature of anything this close to a legal bribe as is the Earmark System currently operating in Congress. If any measure is worthy of funding through Earmarks, it should be worthy of complete openness and debate by the entire House.

We need more transparency in Government. Earmarks do not provide the kind of openness that we are entitled to as voters.

Update: Today Reuters, through Yahoo News, released the result of a Reuters/Zogby poll which shows the approval ratings of Congress continue to stink. Even President Bush has improved his rating to 34%, but Congress has an approval rating declining to 14%.
In the national survey of 1,012 likely voters, taken July 12 through July 14, about 66 percent said Bush had done only a fair or poor job as president, with 34 percent ranking his performance as excellent or good.

That is up slightly from his low of 30 percent in early March and in line with other national polls showing Bush's approval ratings lingering at or near historically low levels amid continued chaos and bloodshed in Iraq.

But the marks for Congress, mired in gridlock over a series of partisan political battles after Democrats took power in the 2006 elections, continued to drop.

While 83 percent said Congress was doing a fair or poor job, just 14 percent rated it excellent or good. Last October, in its final days, the Republican-led Congress earned ratings of excellent or good from 23 percent of voters. [Emphasis Mine]
Update 2: Don Young (R-AK) today took exception to another Republican, Scott Garrett (R-NJ), attempting to strike Rep. Young's Earmark from Legislation.
"You want my money, my money," Young stridently declared before warning conservatives that, "Those who bite me will be bitten back." [Emphasis Mine]
That quote is found in another post at "The Crypt" titled North to Alaska.

The Money quote from this post sums the Earmark situation up completely.
"We legally steal," argued Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), defending her colleague from New Jersey.

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