CAGW Statement on the Retirement of Pork-Pushing Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Statement on the Retirement of Pork-Pushing Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.)

Press Release

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

February 20, 2018

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz issued the following statement in response to earmark proponent Rep. Tom Rooney’s (R-Fla.) announcement that he will not seek reelection:

“Rep. Rooney has been the poster child for the revival of congressional earmarks.  We hope that his exit from Congress will put an end to this ridiculous quest and refocus House Republicans on fiscal responsibility.

“Rep. Rooney has an extensive and elaborate history of pushing pork.  On November 16, 2016, eight days after a ‘drain the swamp’ election, House Republicans inexplicably failed to extend the 2011 earmarks moratorium and contemplated the restoration of earmarks.  The ‘pork masters’ behind the scheme to restore earmarks were Rep. Rooney, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), all of whom were named as CAGW’s December 2016 Porkers of the Month.

On May 4, 2017, Rep. Rooney took the next step in his push to restore earmarks by introducing H. Res. 313, which would allow an exception to the earmark moratorium Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation projects, directly benefitting two projects in his congressional district.  That caused him to be named CAGW’s Porker of the Month for May 2017.  His comments about earmarks range from dismissing the practice as a “fictitious bogeyman,” to lashing out at taxpayer watchdog organizations.

“But, Rep. Rooney’s most infamous statement on earmarks came on January 17, 2018, when he said that without earmarks, ‘you can’t do jack s--- for your constituents.’  He essentially admitted that he was unable to do his job without resorting to the most wasteful and corrupt practice in congressional history.  It does not seem to be a coincidence that Rep. Rooney is calling it quits less than a month after 21 taxpayer organizations representing millions of Americans made clear their opposition to his quixotic quest. 

“Taxpayers need representatives who actively exercise oversight and hold federal officials accountable, not beg them for special interest handouts.  As Rep. Rooney exits the political stage, House Republicans should not repeat his mistakes and agree that earmarks should be permanently banned.”

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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