Rep. Maxine Waters is CAGW’s June Porker of the Month | Citizens Against Government Waste

Rep. Maxine Waters is CAGW’s June Porker of the Month

For Immediate Release:
June 18, 2009

Contacts: Leslie Paige 202.467.5300

 

(WASHINGTON D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) its June Porker of the Month.  Rep. Waters has provoked a tussle with House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) over her intention to obtain an earmark for the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, a facility within the Los Angeles school system.

Rep. Waters’ grandiose gesture is a reminder that Congress still has not banned the practice of earmarking taxpayer funds for pork projects, including monuments, academic facilities, roads, airports and water projects, that are named after them.  The practice, colloquially tagged as “Monuments to Me,” became the subject of scathing news reports in 2007 when House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) was exposed for his $2 million earmark for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service, the Rangel Conference Center, and the Charles Rangel Library at the City College of New York.  It came up again in the recent weeks, when news stories cropped up questioning how $150 million in earmarks over the last 10 years were secured to fund the construction and maintenance of the nearly-deserted John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

To his credit, Chairman Obey appears to grasp that such narcissistic expenditures fuel the negative image of Congress and is trying to proactively keep them out of the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bills.  One reason for his epiphany is that Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) has successfully attached amendments to ban such projects on several appropriations bills.  A June 15, 2009 story in Roll Call by Steven T. Dennis and Tory Newmyer reported that Chairman Obey got the full brunt of Rep. Waters’ ire in a closed-door meeting after he announced that he wanted to prohibit the practice except when someone was “dying.”  Rep. Waters defended the earmark by saying “the employment center had been named after her before she came to Congress in 1991.”  It remains unclear whether Chairman Obey has succeeded in standing up to Rep. Waters and other members that are seeking similar projects.

To placate her need for recognition and the desire of some members of Congress to leave behind a living legacy, even one that is built with pork-barrel earmarks, CAGW happily obliges, endowing Rep. Waters with the coveted June Porker of the Month.

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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