Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Peloton 35% CRASH a Lesson of What Happens When One Over Pays for a Loss Making Growth Stock - 1st Dec 21
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: I Fear For Retirees For The Next 20 Years - 1st Dec 21 t
Will the Anointed Finanical Experts Get It Wrong Again? - 1st Dec 21
Main Differences Between the UK and Canadian Gaming Markets - 1st Dec 21
Bitcoin Price TRIGGER for Accumulating Into Alt Coins for 2022 Price Explosion - 30th Nov 21
Omicron Covid Wave 4 Impact on Financial Markets - 30th Nov 21
Can You Hear It? That’s the Crowd Booing Gold’s Downturn - 30th Nov 21
Economic and Market Impacts of Omicron Strain Covid 4th Wave - 30th Nov 21
Stock Market Historical Trends Suggest A Strengthening Bullish Trend In December - 30th Nov 21
Crypto Market Analysis: What Trading Will Look Like in 2022 for Novice and Veteran Traders? - 30th Nov 21
Best Stocks for Investing to Profit form the Metaverse and Get Rich - 29th Nov 21
Should You Invest In Real Estate In 2021? - 29th Nov 21
Silver Long-term Trend Analysis - 28th Nov 21
Silver Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 28th Nov 21
Crude Oil Didn’t Like Thanksgiving Turkey This Year - 28th Nov 21
Sheffield First Snow Winter 2021 - Snowballs and Snowmen Fun - 28th Nov 21
Stock Market Investing LESSON - Buying Value - 27th Nov 21
Corsair MP600 NVME M.2 SSD 66% Performance Loss After 6 Months of Use - Benchmark Tests - 27th Nov 21
Stock Maket Trading Lesson - How to REALLY Trade Markets - 26th Nov 21
SILVER Price Trend Analysis - 26th Nov 21
Federal Reserve Asks Americans to Eat Soy “Meat” for Thanksgiving - 26th Nov 21
Is the S&P 500 Topping or Just Consolidating? - 26th Nov 21
Is a Bigger Drop in Gold Price Just Around the Corner? - 26th Nov 21
Financial Stocks ETF Sector XLF Pullback Sets Up A New $43.60 Upside Target - 26th Nov 21
A Couple of Things to Think About Before Buying Shares - 25th Nov 21
UK Best Fixed Rate Tariff Deal is to NOT FIX Gas and Electric Energy Tariffs During Winter 2021-22 - 25th Nov 21
Stock Market Begins it's Year End Seasonal Santa Rally - 24th Nov 21
How Silver Can Conquer $50+ in 2022 - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Betting on Hawkish Fed - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Elliott Wave Trend Forecast - 24th Nov 21
Your once-a-year All-Access Financial Markets Analysis Pass - 24th Nov 21
Did Zillow’s $300 million flop prove me wrong? - 24th Nov 21
Now Malaysian Drivers Renew Their Kurnia Car Insurance Online With Fincrew.my - 24th Nov 21
Gold / Silver Ratio - 23rd Nov 21
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Can We Get To 5500SPX In 2022? But 4440SPX Comes First - 23rd Nov 21
A Month-to-month breakdown of how Much Money Individuals are Spending on Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
S&P 500: Rallying Tech Stocks vs. Plummeting Oil Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
Like the Latest Bond Flick, the US Dollar Has No Time to Die - 23rd Nov 21
Why BITCOIN NEW ALL TIME HIGH Changes EVERYTHING! - 22nd Nov 21
Cannabis ETF MJ Basing & Volatility Patterns - 22nd Nov 21
The Most Important Lesson Learned from this COVID Pandemic - 22nd Nov 21
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis - 22nd Nov 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

U.S. Lawmakers Help Themselves to Congressional Pork

Politics / UK Politics Feb 16, 2012 - 09:26 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleDavid Zeiler writes: For members of Congress, the only thing better than getting "pork" for the folks back home is getting a slice of that pork for themselves.

Pork, also known as earmarks, describes the long-standing Congressional practice of steering tax money back to home districts to pay for expensive, constituent-pleasing projects.


But in recent years lawmakers started taking pork a step further. Instead of just using earmarks to keep voters happy, some members of Congress have found ways to benefit personally.

Some arranged for improvements to areas near property they owned; others sent money to organizations they would later go to work for after leaving office.

Of course, none of this is illegal.

Congress literally makes its own rules regarding the ethics of earmarks. Still, much of what goes on looks bad.

Take the case of former Rep. William Delahunt, D-MA. The seven-term Congressman retired last year and launched his own lobbying firm in Boston.

Before long the small coastal town of Hull had hired Delahunt for $15,000 a month to help out with a wind energy project.

Coincidentally, Delahunt had set aside a $1.7 million earmark for the Hull project back in 2009. The bulk of his fee - 80% - is being paid from the same earmark money.

And that's not all. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has paid Delahunt's firm at least $40,000 to lobby for a casino. As a congressman, Delahunt sent the tribe earmarks worth $400,000.

Delahunt also has done work for Quincy, MA, lobbying for a downtown redevelopment project. Back in 2008, he was sending Quincy $2.4 million in earmarks.

"I cannot recall such an obvious example of a member of Congress allocating money that went directly into his own pocket," Barney Keller, communications director for theconservative group Club for Growth, told The New York Times. "It speaks to why members of Congress shouldn't be using earmarks."

While Delahunt may be the most blatant example of a lawmaker enjoying generous helpings of Congressional pork, he's not the only one.

Watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) turned up seven more former members of Congress engaged in lobbying for groups for whom they'd secured earmarks while in office.

Altogether, CREW said, the seven "earmarked more than $70 million to the organizations they went on to represent, and have pulled in a total of nearly $1.9 million from their work."

The list includes both Democrats and Republicans. The most recognizable name on the CREW list is Sen. Trent Lott, R-MS, who once held the position of Senate majority leader among other leadership posts.

Lott resigned in December 2007, avoiding a law that would have prevented him from lobbying for two years. The limit as of 2007 was just one year.

Lott launched his firm in a partnership with former Sen. John Breaux, D-LA, in January 2008 and quickly landed Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) as a client.

Lott had earmarked $1.6 million for the defense industry titan in the 2008 budget. Between 2008 and 2010 the Breaux Lott Leadership Group collected $1.25 million from Northrop.

But ethical issues with Congressional earmarks go beyond even the lobbying shenanigans.

According to an investigation by the Washington Post, 33 lawmakers have in the past several years secured $300 million in earmarks for public projects within two miles of their property.

Most of the earmarks paid for such things as road improvements and beach replenishment that likely enhance their property values.

The Post investigation also found 16 members of Congress that found ways to direct federal money to entities associated with family members.

Although Congressional rules require lawmakers to certify that they will not personally benefit from any earmark they propose, the rule is so narrow it almost never applies.

The whole practice of earmarks has become so unseemly that Congress actually felt compelled to impose a two-year moratorium last year.

Earmarks By Any Other Name
Not surprisingly, however, lawmakers found ways around the moratorium.

In its first six months, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, said she found 100 suspicious spending provisions in just one House defense bill. The provisions were obviously earmarks, she said.

Congress also has shuffled money around in other ways to preserve its beloved pork. The primary earmark substitute has been special funds created by redirecting money from other projects in the budget.

"We thought we'd gotten rid of earmarks," Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, told The New York Times. "But it looks like Congress has just moved on to other methods that are less transparent than the old way, like creating these slush funds."

Although Congressional earmarks do often fund needed projects, the current system allows for too many abuses. Some in Congress would like to fix it, but they are few.

"There is little arguing that stories like these, of which there seems to be no end, cast a shadow over Congress at a time in our history that would necessitate the utmost in trustworthiness with respect to fiscal matters," Rep. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, wrote in a letter last week to House Republican leaders. "They allow for the appearance of impropriety that demands remedy."

Source http://moneymorning.com/2012/02/16/making-earmarks-pay-lawmakers-help-themselves-to-congressional-pork/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2012 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in