CAGW Names 7 Freshmen Senators Who Voted to Kill DeMint Earmark Amendment Porkers of the Month | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Names 7 Freshmen Senators Who Voted to Kill DeMint Earmark Amendment Porkers of the Month

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseDaytime contact: Alexa Moutevelis 202-467-5318 
January 24, 2007Afterhours contact: Tom Finnigan      202-253-3852 

 

Washington, D.C. – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named freshman Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) Porkers of the Month for voting to table, or kill, an amendment to strengthen earmark provisions in the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 (S. 1).

The original definition of “earmark” in S. 1, the Senate’s ethics reform package, covered only about 5 percent of projects, making it an impotent reform.  Sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), S. Amdt. 11 broadened the definition of “earmark” to include projects in report language and those for federal agencies.  Sen. DeMint based his definition of “earmark” on the House rules changes passed on January 4 under Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).  Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) defended the Senate language on the grounds that his staff had worked really hard at it and the House did not know what it was doing.

The Senate rejected Majority Whip Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) motion to table the DeMint amendment by a vote of 46-51.  The other three Senate freshmen, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.), voted against Sen. Durbin and with Sen. DeMint.  By voting to kill the DeMint amendment, the seven Porkers were voting for the status quo and against transparency and accountability. 

Corruption played a pivotal role in the 2006 elections, and the 110th Congress has a clear mandate for ethics reform and fiscal restraint.  The secrecy of earmarks encourages widespread waste and abuse.  Former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) is in jail for taking bribes in exchange for earmarks while other members of Congress are being investigated for allegedly profiting from earmarks or directing earmarks to campaign contributors, including House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.).  In fiscal 2006, pork-barrel spending ballooned to 9,963 projects costing a record $29 billion, as documented by CAGW’s Congressional Pig Book.  Projects included $1,000,000 for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative and $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C.

Although both sides eventually came to a compromise and a revised amendment was passed unanimously a few days later, the freshmen senators used their fifth vote in Congress to try to keep earmarks in the dark.  For failing to live up to campaign promises to reform earmarks – or eliminate corruption – and attempting to preserve a giant loophole in earmark reform legislation, CAGW names the seven freshmen senators who voted to kill the DeMint earmark amendment its Porkers of the Month for January 2007.

Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest 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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