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  • Pork Chalks Up Two More Victories

    Yet another controversy involving Congressional earmarks is brewing in Washington. This time around a lobbying firm, the PMA group (raided by the FBI in November), is accused of making fraudulent donations to members of Congress in exchange for federal pork directed toward their clients.

    Given mounting news reports of scandal involving earmarks, you’d think Members of Congress would jump at the opportunity to prove they’re clean. You’d be wrong.

    Two illuminating pieces of pork legislation were passed by the House yesterday. The first vote, the 2009 Omnibus appropriations bill, churned out the waste we’ve unfortunately become accustomed to – $2,192,000 for grape genetics, $2,673,000 for wood education, and $1,049,000 for Mormon crickets just to name a few.

    The second vote, however, threatened to expose the not-so-secret reality that earmarks are often directed towards individuals and organizations in exchange for campaign contributions. Inspired by the allegations against PMA, Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced a resolution to “investigate the relationship between earmark requests already made by Members and the source and timing of past campaign contributions.” Yesterday, a motion to kill the resolution passed 226-182.

    Rep. Flake hit the nail on the head in his February 24th New York Times op-ed:

    Nothing has illustrated the insidious nature of Congressional pay-to-play better than the PMA Group, a powerhouse lobbying firm that imploded this month after word got out that it was being investigated over campaign contribution indiscretions. Over the past few days we’ve learned that PMA’s clients received nearly $300 million worth of earmarks in one defense appropriations bill. In what is best described as circular fund-raising, millions of those dollars made a return trip to Capitol Hill in the form of contributions to members of Congress

    Congress has managed to avoid connecting the pay-to-play dots by looking the other way. This has been easy to do. House rules require members submitting earmark requests to certify that they have no “financial interest” in doing so. But the House ethics manual states: “A contribution to a member’s principal campaign committee or leadership PAC generally would not constitute the type of ‘financial interest’ referred to in the rule.”

    If we think we can rely on Ethics Committee guidelines written by our colleagues to shield us from corruption investigations, we are drinking our own bathwater. We have little choice but to decouple earmarks from campaign contributions. This can be most easily done by clarifying that campaign contributions do in fact constitute “financial interest.” I’ve introduced a House resolution to do just that.

    This resolution was killed yesterday, and the pork filled Omnibus, which contains at least eight earmarks for PMA clients, was passed. How far the majority leadership has come since it pledged “to make this the most honest, ethical and open Congress in history.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    21 Responses to Pork Chalks Up Two More Victories

    1. Franklin's Lock says:

      This cesspool of corruption needs to be drained. The people partaking in this type of politics needs to exposed, Republican or Democrat, and they need to be voted out or kicked out of office. This is in essence bribery and needs to be stopped.

      http://franklinslocke.blogspot.com/

    2. daniel hopper spring says:

      Can the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provide the information necessary to see who congress is recieving campaign funds from and balance that against the "Pork Program" earmarks? If so I believe this would be a worthwhile endeavor.

    3. Shelpicker, Florida says:

      In Asian countries when a politician is found to be corrupt that politician usually kills himself, our politicians just buy a bigger home. Sony just showed a loss and the president of the company removed himself from office. Our politicians just ask for more bribes. Since no one has the balls to kick them out of office I suggest that we throw them all out on the street just like the Declaration of Independence says.

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    4. William , Milw says:

      Isn't all lobbying bribery?

      The members of the house are to represent their constituants.

      All lobbyists should be arrested.

      It should be treated the same as trying to influence a judge.

      The members of the house of represenatives should spend their

      Time representing their constituants not spending anytime with a lobbyist.

      The only way a representative will be able to vote as their

      Constituants opinions is to comunicate with them directly.

      If a lobbyist is doing it the lobbyist is doing the representing work

      Not the member of the house and is doing so for personal gain

      Not actual accurte representation.

      I think anytime a lobbyist wins over a member of the house (accepts such bribery$) the Constituants have a legal case for lack of representation if it goes Against the majority of the will of the constituants. If you have a majority of constituants & prove this

      Lack of representation that representative should be permanently

      Removed & should never be able to hold any public or government

      Office or government job of any kind at all.

      This should be made into a constitutional amendment. This will

      Solve the earmarks problem. The constituants will be able to have a voice & leverage over their representative instead of having to wait a number of years to remove the problem.

    5. lindasue baton rouge says:

      How do you stop the corruption? Are there any represenatives who are honest? All you hear are lies that tickle the ear and make you feel good. When will the American People, who care about this nation, BEGIN THE REVOLT? This nation was begun by those who wished for FREEDOM! Not kings, not religious leaders telling them what to think, what to believe and how to live. They wanted to be under the direction of GOD, committed to FREEDOM. They did not intend that we would be bullied by nonbelievers and self seekers who would tie us down and destroy this great nation.

    6. dave suttle ohio says:

      I never used to believe in term limits but i sure do now. An honest man must not be able to hold up to all the influence peddling that goes on.

    7. Dwana Townsend says:

      I am in total disbelief that the people we intrust in government do not hold themselves to a higher standard than they would an American citizen. Just think if the shoe were on the other foot. If I were to take a bribe or offer a bribe to any official for favors, I would be ARRESTED!!!! I am sick of the double standards of our politicians. It's ok for them to partake in unlawful acts such as not paying their taxes, but let the American citizen so such a thing.

      I have to say I truely wanted to support this new President in hopes that he would be a stand up guy and live up to his promises to America. All I see now are lies, secrets, his agenda all being supported by total partisianship. He has only been in office less than 45 days and has done more harm to our economy and futures than any before him. Just wait til we hit the 100 day mark or even the 2 yr mark.

      I am still waiting on absolute proof that he is indeed an American BORN citizen as well as his college transcripts to be made public.

      I also want him to live up to his promise of transparency, giving the American population a chance to see what is being proposed in these spending sprees.

      I am a frequent blogger and very opinionated as I think most Americans are starting to wake up. I want to do more and would love some guidance as to what I can do. I have written and called my congressmen, senators, representatives, govenor, as well as many others in congress as well as some on the "Obama TEAM". I think it may be a waist of time to try to write the President because we all know his mail is screened and only a select few get read if any.

    8. Robert Reynolds says:

      Let's go back a bit. Fannie Mae is practically a government owned corporation; OK, at least they are government backed (your tax money). So why can they hand out bribes (campaign donations) to Barney Franks to look the other way when they are cooking the books? Can the FCC give Barney bucks? How do we stifle these so called "donations" when, in fact, they are bribes and/or kickbacks? Do we have to drag such fellows from their beds and hang them to get the point across?? Fast-forward: we not have trillion dollars out there for Democrats to steal. Who's watching?

    9. Robert Reynolds says:

      Let's go back a bit. Fannie Mae is practically a government owned corporation; OK, at least they are government backed (your tax money). So why can they hand out bribes (campaign donations) to Barney Franks to look the other way when they are cooking the books? Can the FCC give Barney bucks? How do we stifle these so called "donations" when, in fact, they are bribes and/or kickbacks? Do we have to drag such fellows from their beds and hang them to get the point across?? Fast-forward: we now have trillion dollars out there for Democrats to steal. Who's watching?

    10. Jan from Utah, says:

      I wish Robert, I wish.

    11. Jan from Utah, says:

      I know some of these congressman never see our letters or emails, but maybe we will influence or teach there staff to see our point of view. Get some help from the inside.

    12. duelles, Santa Fe, N says:

      The United States and Liberia have the same Constitution. I don't think that it s the Constitution that makes the difference between the two countries. It is the people. Good people with moral and ethical values. Peole who make bad decisions , but make better decision the next time. Our Congress is beging to look too Liberian for my taste.

      Let us all make beter decisions when we vote the next time. I would not be surprised to see a large turn over in the Senate and House in the next 2 elections. Americans can't really be such chumps?

    13. Henry A Chabot says:

      Its time to set an example,Impeach Polinski.

    14. Henry A Chabot says:

      Being from New Hampshire,I beleave in the slogan.Live free or die!

    15. Dave McDuffie says:

      Time for ALL so-called politicians to be removed from office or just plain arrested for crimes against the American people, with all their possessions, belongings, property and bank accounts siezed and turned over to the treasury. They were ill-gotten gains any way so they never deserved them. I find it ASTOUNDING, INCOMPREHENSIBLE that people like Barnet Frank, Jamie Gorelick, franklin Raines, Chris Dodd and others are STILL IN THEIR JOBS SCREWING OVER THE PEOPLE!!! They should be in jail!We need to push this now!!

    16. Sam Kendall, Wiscons says:

      Uh, Mormon CRICKETS? What's that about? I know there was huge swarm that destroyed a lot of crops out in Utah, but that was back about 1850. It would at least make sense if they meant critics.

      I'm furious that most politicians only seem to make the promises they make during campaigns just so that they can get elected. After all, if they lie when they make those promises, how do we know what they're really going to do? How can we trust or even vote for them? Perhaps it's time such people learned the cost of lying to the public, since, contrary to popular belief, talk isn't cheap.

    17. john iowa says:

      We the people doesn't seem to hold much weight with the new ruling class. They think that their subjects are no more than chattle and are treating them as such. What I don't understand, and maybe because I'm from the Midwest is how the

      likes of Frank, Pelosi and Reid keep getting elected by their constituents. I probably should keep my mouth shut as we haven't changed our senators here forever. Maybe it's complacency.

    18. Louise, MD says:

      Right On Dwana Townsend…. how do we start and what do we do… we need to organize, research and find out how to stop this before it's too late … if is isn't already. WAKE UP AMERICA!! Time to take time out of our lives and work to save this country. Whatever it takes !! Henry Chabot is correct. Live FREE or Die!!!

    19. Marshall Hill MI. says:

      This is the time for all plans to take back America to begin!We have Attorney Generals in

      every State that these Crooked Politicians

      come from!Some of them will stand up and start

      to Prosecute these People!We certainly won't

      wait for Eric Holder!

    20. cathie Milwaukee wi says:

      Hillrey isn't looking too bad now is she!

    21. will ND says:

      I wonder if the vote to kill the resolution happened to follow party lines? There is no possibility of taking corruption out of congress as long as we permit them to police themselves. Foxes should never be allowed to investigate break-ins at the hen house. We now have the worst possible situation where one party controls all facets of the government and the minority party is given the choice to participate (take pork and vote for the bill or don't take pork and face constituents with empty hands).

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