CONGRESSIONAL CON GAMES
They can’t wait until the public calms down to use other ways to deceive the folks about wasteful spending. Regardless of how many devious ways to waste money to get re-elected are exposed, they will find others. One new republican Senator discovered a method with little exposure as a way to hide extortion type pressure from being associated with him even before the election. Chicago style politics seems to have no party affiliation with even republicans being sent to prison.
Senator Mark Kirk R-Illinois won the Senate seat that Obama vacated to run for President. During his campaign he stated that he would oppose Speaker of the House, Nancy Polisi’s trillion-dollar stimulus plan. He along with many other republicans squealed loudly about pork-barrel spending and the use of designating money for special projects via “earmarks”.
Mr. Kirk understood political pressure, for example, he sent a letter to the Department of Education on September 10, 2009, asking the release of money “needed to support students and educational programs” in a local school district. The New York Times (NYT) obtained a copy of the letter from the Citizens Against Government Waste group that had obtained the copy under the Freedom of Information Act. The Woodland School District 50 later received $1,100,000.00 in stimulus funds.
The NYT reported that his spokeswoman, Susan Kuczka, reported, “Senator-elect Kirk became the first member of the Appropriations Committee to stop requesting earmarks and voted against the stimulus bill. He has and will continue to be an advocate for his Illinois constituents before administration agencies but will not request Congressional earmarks to be included in House or Senate legislation.”
Watch the weasel words as he made no mention that he would not use the alternatives of lettermarking or phonemarking which are alternatives to hide themselves from the spending. Let me show you how. Lettermarking which takes place outside the Congressional appropriations process is another way to let the Congressperson provide money back home and the money comes from the budgets approved for that government agency. I am sure that a Congressperson would not include money for that agency in the preparation of their annual budget. If you believe that, I have some swamp land you may want to buy!
Phonemarking is where the lawmaker calls an agency requesting money for a home district or State for specific projects. They should be called soft-earmarks which is merely suggesting that money be used for home projects or Hard-earmarks where they demand that funds be available for their district/State.
These are not new scams as they have been used for years. If we did this it would be called bribery or fraud. Both Presidents Bush and Obama issued Executive Orders to all government agencies to not finance pet projects requested from a Congressperson. Anyone out there really believe they actually stopped the practice? Would you say no to the people who approve your budget? No one would be that stupid.
Representative Jeff Flake R-Arizona sees merit in banning all of these practices. He has raised the issue with the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner who has not committed to banning all types of soft/hard earmarks.
Soft earmarks accounted for billions of dollars in 2006, the last year they were examined, according to the Congressional Research Service. It sort of makes you wonder why but remember they will find another way regardless. In 2006 most were in spending bills for the State Department, US Agency for International Development and other foreign aid programs. Maybe these billions would have prevented the unemployment situation we have today!
Let me share just one example of how these pet projects are forced on the government agency. The 2010 military bill contained $2,500,000,000.00 for more C-17 transport aircraft; $825,000,000.00 for all-terrain vehicles; $732,000,000.00 for other airplanes and $500,000,000.00 for a second engine for the F-35 aircraft. The Pentagon did not request these funds and did not desire to spend the money. I wonder why it was there, do you?
Taxpayers for Common Sense found 146 such undisclosed earmarks totaling nearly $6,000,000,000.00 in 2010 spending bills.
You will find some more interesting things in my AMERICAN ROYALTY-PART 5 next Tuesday 1-4-11.
Let me leave you with a question. Do you really think that 2011 will see major change to the waste we are watching? I do not. Bring on a third-party to change Washington. The last time this happened was when Lincoln was elected and sadly it produced the Civil War, read your history, I did.