Citizens Against Government Waste Disagrees with President Trump on Earmarks

For Immediate Release
Contact: Curtis Kalin 202-467-5318

January 9, 2018
 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz issued the following statement today after President Trump called for a return of congressional earmarks:

“Earmarks are the antithesis of the ‘drain the swamp’ election that sent President Trump to the White House.  They are corrupt, inequitable, and wasteful.  We urge President Trump to reconsider and withdraw his recommendation upon consideration of the sordid history of earmarks.

“Since 1991, according to CAGW’s Congressional Pig Book, there have been 110,605 earmarks costing taxpayers $329.9 billion.  Members of Congress and lobbyists went to jail due to earmarks, including Reps. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) and Bob Ney (R-Ohio). 

“The distribution of funds for earmarks skews heavily toward those in power.  In the 111th Congress, when the names of members who requested earmarks were included in the appropriations bills, the 81 appropriators who constituted 15 percent of the 535 members of Congress purloined 61 percent of the earmarks and 51 percent of the money for earmarks. 

“The claim that earmarks are necessary to help pass bills has been debunked by the passage in the House of all 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2018. It was not necessary to resort to the prior practice of ‘legalized bribery’ under which a few million dollars in earmarks were traded for votes in favor of hundreds of billions of dollars in spending bills.

“Earmarks are a lazy, unfair and corrupt way to circumvent the authorization and appropriations process.  They have been roundly excoriated by the conservative movement upon which Republicans depend for their political lives. 

“The American people have made it clear that they want an end to business as usual in Washington.  Earmarks for teapot museums, indoor rainforests, and bridges to nowhere should not be restored; they should be permanently banned.  We hope that President Trump agrees.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. 

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