Citizens Against Government Waste Responds to Chairman Peter DeFazio’s Earmark Announcement | Citizens Against Government Waste

Citizens Against Government Waste Responds to Chairman Peter DeFazio’s Earmark Announcement

Press Release

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

February 27, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz responded to House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), who announced that he would formally bring back pork-barrel earmarks in order to pass a transportation bill in 2019.  Chairman DeFazio was named CAGW’s January 2019 Porker of the Month for his earlier support of earmarks.

CAGW President Tom Schatz issued the following statement:

“Chairman DeFazio’s statement is false, misleading, and disingenuous.  Rebranding earmarks as ‘Article 1 projects’ insults the intelligence of the American people, who know that such expenditures are costly, inequitable, and corrupting.  Earmarks have cost taxpayers $344.5 billion since 1991 and landed several members of Congress and lobbyists in prison.  They are disproportionately doled out to members of the transportation and appropriations committees. 

“Earmarks also cause members of Congress to vote for bills that they ordinarily would not support in exchange for a few million dollars in projects, a process akin to legalized bribery.

“Earmarks undermine higher priority projects and local initiatives.  A 2007 Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General report found that, ‘earmarked projects considered by the agencies as low priority are being funded over higher priority, non-earmarked projects,’ and, ‘some earmarks are providing funds for projects that would otherwise be ineligible.’  For three DOT agencies, 99 percent of the earmarked projects ‘were not subject to the agencies’ review and selection processes or bypassed the states’ normal planning and programming processes.’

“Chairman DeFazio mentioned the constitutional power over ‘post roads’ in his statement.  He neglected to add that Thomas Jefferson said that allowing members of Congress to make decisions on where such roads should be constructed will be ‘a scene of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest.’  James Monroe said that the power to spend money on infrastructure projects should be ‘limited to great national works only, since if it were unlimited it would be liable to abuse and might be productive of evil.’

“Earmarks have been and always will be a clear and dangerous abuse of the budget process.  They are an affront to taxpayers and we will fight tooth and nail to eradicate them once and for all.”

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