CAGW Names Rep. Tom Cole January 2018 Porker of the Month

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) its January 2018 Porker of the Month for his leading role in the charge to revive wasteful and corruptive earmarks.                                                                   

Earmarks are added by members of Congress for a specific purpose in circumvention of normal budget procedures.  These pork-barrel projects have often been added to appropriations bills for 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 North Carolina and the indoor rainforest in Iowa.  CAGW has chronicled the litany of scandals and conflicts of interest that arose in the era of profligate earmarking. 

Since 1991, when CAGW published the first Congressional Pig Book, there have been 110,605 earmarks costing $329.9 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.  The highest number of earmarks, 13,996, occurred in 2005; while the highest cost, $29 billion, was in 2006, the same year in which Republicans lost the majority in Congress.

Either defying or neglecting history, many House Republicans are clamoring for the return of earmarks. Rep. Cole, one of the primary cheerleaders, said on January 9, 2018, “I think we’ve just given up so much power to the executive branch, number one.  Then number two, you’ve lost a legislative tool that’s useful.”  It seems he has chosen to ignore the warning of his fellow Oklahoman, former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who accurately described earmarks as “the gateway drug to over-spending.”

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “Earmarks are corrupt, inequitable, wasteful, and are the antithesis of the ‘drain the swamp’ message that swept Republicans to unified control of the government.  They have been roundly excoriated by the conservative movement upon which Republicans depend for their political lives.  Unfortunately, Rep. Cole flouts these facts and has become a leading voice for the return of this reviled practice.  His effort should be defeated and Congress permanently ban earmarks instead of bringing them back.”

For pushing to resurrect one the most wasteful and corrupt practices in congressional history, CAGW names Rep. Tom Cole its January 2018 Porker 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.

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CAGW Names Rep. Mike Conaway July 2018 Porker of the Month

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