WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Reps. John Culberson (R-Texas), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) its December Porkers of the Month for their reckless and secretive push to bring back wasteful and corruptive earmarks.
On November 14, 2016, the Daily Signal revealed that Reps. Culberson, Rogers, and Rooney filed an amendment during a private GOP rules meeting that would undo the 2011 moratorium on pork-barrel earmarks that the House adopted after taking back the chamber in 2010. Two days later during a GOP conference meeting, after a substantial backlash, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) single-handedly halted the push stating, “We just had a drain the swamp election. Let's not just turn around and bring back earmarks two weeks later.” House GOP leaders agreed to table the issue until the first quarter of 2017, when the issue would receive a full public hearing.
According to CAGW’s seven-point criteria, pork-barrel projects are funded for a specific purpose in circumvention of normal budget procedures. Since 1991, Congress has approved 110,442 earmarks costing taxpayers $323.1 billion. The earmark era was marred by high-profile boondoggles such as the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, and a decade of scandals that resulted in jail terms for Reps. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) and Bob Ney (R-Ohio), and lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Unfortunately, the 2011 moratorium did not completely eliminate the insidious practice. As documented in CAGW’s 2016 Congressional Pig Book, there were 123 earmarks worth $5.1 billion in the fiscal year 2016 appropriations bills.
CAGW has chronicled the litany of scandals and conflicts of interest that arose in the era of profligate earmarking. Often, pork projects were directed for selfish personal political reasons, such as repaving a specific road next to a representative’s home; used as a kickback to a campaign contributor; or directed toward ludicrous local ventures like the infamous teapot museum in South Carolina and the indoor rainforest in Iowa.
CAGW President Tom Schatz said: “Earmarks signify the height of government waste and corruption. The fact that Reps. Culberson, Rogers, and Rooney would so swiftly defy the clear will of taxpayers is a stunning and shameful development. I applaud Speaker Ryan for putting the brakes on this misguided scheme until the public can engage with their representatives and voice what we expect to be vociferous opposition to the potential return of Washington’s most corrupt and wasteful practices.”
For secretly scheming to resurrect wasteful, pork-barrel earmarks, and ignoring the will of the taxpayers, CAGW names Reps. Culberson, Rogers, and Rooney its December Porkers of the Month.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.