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dirk digler
02-09-2010, 12:33 PM
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2010/feb/09/stimulus-foes-see-value-in-seeking-cash//print/


Stimulus foes see value in seeking cash
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Jim McElhatton (http://washingtontimes.com/staff/jim-mcelhatton/)
Sen. Christopher S. Bond regularly railed against President Obama's economic stimulus plan as irresponsible spending that would drive up the national debt. But behind the scenes, the Missouri Republican quietly sought more than $50 million from a federal agency for two projects in his state.

Mr. Bond was not alone. More than a dozen Republican lawmakers, while denouncing the stimulus to the media and their constituents, privately sent letters to just one of the federal government's many agencies seeking stimulus money for home-state pork projects.

The letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, expose the gulf between lawmakers' public criticism of the overall stimulus package and their private lobbying for projects close to home.

"It's not illegal to talk out of both sides of your mouth, but it does seem to be a level of dishonesty troubling to the American public," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Mr. Bond noted that one project applying to the USDA for stimulus money would "create jobs and ultimately spur economic opportunities."

He and other lawmakers make no apologies for privately seeking stimulus money after they voted against it and continue to criticize the plan: "I strongly opposed the stimulus, but the only thing that could make it worse would be if none of it returned to the taxpayers of Missouri," said Mr. Bond, who is retiring.

But watchdog groups say the lawmakers' public talk and private letters don't square, highlighting a side of government spending largely overshadowed by the "earmarking" process. While members of Congress must disclose their earmarks or pet projects they slip into broader spending bills the private funding requests they make in letters to agencies fall outside of the public's view.

"There is a definite disconnect between the public statements and the private letters," said Thomas A. Schatz, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Against Government Waste. "It does seem inconsistent to say you're against the bill but then you want some little piece of it."

At a televised meeting with the House Republican caucus late last month, Mr. Obama chided GOP lawmakers who, he said, took credit for projects funded by the same stimulus bill they voted against adding that some were even attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

But the USDA letters also reveal a more discreet way for lawmakers to try to steer money to home-state projects.

'Misguided spending bill'
Several Republicans who sent letters to the USDA for home-state projects seeking an infusion of stimulus cash are facing competitive re-election races.

Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican who became famous after yelling, "You lie," during Mr. Obama's addresses to Congress in September, voted against the stimulus. Nonetheless, Mr. Wilson elbowed his way into the rush for federal stimulus cash in a letter he sent to Mr. Vilsack on behalf of a foundation seeking funding.

"We know their endeavor will provide jobs and investment in one of the poorer sections of the Congressional District," he wrote to Mr. Vilsack in the Aug. 26, 2009, letter.

"Congressman Wilson's position on the stimulus bill is consistent," said spokeswoman Pepper Pennington. She said Mr. Wilson opposed the stimulus as a "misguided spending bill," but once it passed, he wanted to make sure South Carolina residents "receive their share of the pie."

On Feb. 13, 2009, Sen. Robert F. Bennett, Utah Republican, issued a statement criticizing the stimulus but two days earlier, he privately forwarded to Mr. Vilsack a list of projects seeking stimulus money.

"I believe the addition of federal funds to these projects would maximize the stimulative effect of these projects on the local economy," he wrote.
Mr. Bennett is up for re-election and facing several Republican challengers.

Last month, the conservative anti-tax group Club for Growth announced that it was opposing his nomination for a fourth term.

"It is absurd to require Utah taxpayers to foot their portion of the bill associated with stimulus spending and then ask them to forgo competing for those funds without the input of their congressional representatives," said Bennett spokeswoman Tara Hendershott DiJulio.

Also facing a competitive race, Rep. Pat Tiberi, Ohio Republican, in October called the final Democratic stimulus bill "loaded with [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi's grab bag of big spending wishes" and that it "saddles future generations with mountains of debt."

He struck a different tone in a letter to Mr. Vilsack.

"While this project is intended to expand rural broadband in Alaska, I understand that the project could support businesses and jobs in communities across the country," Mr. Tiberi wrote, citing one such company in his district.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Tiberi said he is just fighting for jobs in his district.
"Congressman Tiberi didn't support the stimulus bill, but when it comes down to parts of the bill that are actually going to support jobs, he's going to come down on the side of supporting businesses and Ohio jobs," Tiberi spokeswoman Breann Gonzalez said.

Job creation?
Other Republican lawmakers who wrote on behalf of projects applying for stimulus money don't have any re-election worries anytime soon.
Before his vote against the stimulus, Sen. Mike Johanns, who took office last year from Nebraska, predicted that "the money would simply never reach the economy."

A secretary of agriculture under President George W. Bush, Mr. Johanns later told the Grand Island, Neb., Independent newspaper that "it would be hard for me to imagine that we are going to be creating many jobs here." Yet he saw the prospect of at least a few dozen jobs in a letter he later sent to Mr. Vilsack for a home-state project, records show.

"The proposed project would create 38 new jobs and bring broadband to eight hospitals, five colleges, 16 libraries and 161 K-12 schools," Mr. Johanns wrote.

E-mails and calls to Mr. Johanns' office were not returned.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican, who easily won re-election in 2008, said of the stimulus, "This is spending, not stimulus."

In a letter to Mr. Vilsack for a project applying for stimulus money, Mr. Alexander noted, "It is anticipated that the project will create over 200 jobs in the first year and at least another 40 new jobs in the following years."

Jim Jeffries, a spokesman for Mr. Alexander, said the senator believes his constituents have a right to apply for stimulus funds.

"Sen. Alexander voted against the stimulus because it was too much spending and too much debt for too little benefit to the economy," Mr. Jeffries said. "Republicans lost that fight and the money will be spent, and because Tennessee taxpayers will end up footing part of the bill, they have a right to apply for the funds."

Pete Sepp, vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, called that philosophy troubling.

"It's hard to expect lawmakers to behave like angels when this much money is being airdropped all over the country," Mr. Sepp said. "But the more strident the rhetoric, the worse it looks. For me, with these grants where they're saying a project is going to create a certain number of jobs, it makes you wonder: Do they really believe that? Or is it just part of a cynical cash grab?"

Getting their 'fair share'

Ranked among the most conservative members of the House by the American Conservative Union (ACU), Rep. John Linder, Georgia Republican, posted a blog item on his Web site on Oct. 21, stating that recent unemployment figures "only reinforce the fact that the $787 billion 'stimulus' signed into law eight months ago has done nothing for job growth in this country."

Two weeks earlier, Mr. Linder had sent a letter to Mr. Vilsack backing an application for stimulus money by the Elauwit Community Foundation, records show. With unemployment in Georgia topping 10 percent, "the employment opportunities created by this program would be quickly utilized," Mr. Linder wrote.

Mr. Linder said the letter doesn't change his staunch opposition to the stimulus.

"I have opposed every stimulus plan that has come before Congress because it is simply bad policy, but if they pass, the communities in my district which are paying for them deserve to be equally considered in their benefits," Mr. Linder said.

Another House member who has scored high ACU rankings, Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama Republican, also voted against and criticized the stimulus.

"Rather than create jobs or stimulate the economy, this massive spending bill was a laundry list of programs that focused on states with big-city urban communities," he wrote in the Oct. 4 edition of the Daily Mountain Eagle newspaper.

Three days later, Mr. Aderholt sent a letter to Mr. Vilsack on behalf of a foundation seeking stimulus money to expand broadband services in his district.

"Congressman Aderholt supported some of the ideas in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but disagreed with much of it and that's why he voted against it," Aderholt spokesman D.J. Jordan said.

"Since the bill was passed and became law, the congressman wanted to help a local foundation receive some of the broadband money that otherwise would go to another state."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, called the stimulus "excessive" and voted against it, though she noted that money in the legislation would benefit her state. She, too, wrote to the USDA to support Alaska projects seeking stimulus funds.

"I opposed the stimulus bill as did most of my colleagues in the Republican caucus, but it was passed in Congress and signed into law," she said, when asked about her support for project seeking stimulus funds.

"When constituents come to me asking for support in a competitive application process for funding for broadband expansion, I am happy to support their request. I will always fight to make sure my state gets its fair share of available federal dollars," she added.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, was yet another lawmaker who voted against the stimulus and later backed applications for stimulus money in two letters to the Agriculture Department.

"If the funds are there, Senator Grassleys going to help Iowa, rather than some other state, get its share," spokeswoman Jill Kozeny said.

According to records, at least eight other Republicans lawmakers who voted against the stimulus later sent letters to the USDA backing various projects' stimulus applications.

L.A. Chieffan
02-09-2010, 12:36 PM
Politicians saying one thing and doing another? Shocking.

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 12:41 PM
Politicians saying one thing and doing another? Shocking.

I think it is hilarious that they bitch that the stimulus bill doesn't create jobs but in their private letters all of them say it will create jobs LMAO

HonestChieffan
02-09-2010, 12:42 PM
Considering the importance of Agriculture to Missouri, it would be nice when these slanted BS posts get made that we have some indication of what the requests were for.

L.A. Chieffan
02-09-2010, 12:44 PM
Considering the importance of Agriculture to Missouri, it would be nice when these slanted BS posts get made that we have some indication of what the requests were for.

are you questioning the washington times' reputation?

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 12:46 PM
Considering the importance of Agriculture to Missouri, it would be nice when these slanted BS posts get made that we have some indication of what the requests were for.

I know that ultra liberal Washington Times paper LMAO

LMAO
LMAO

HonestChieffan
02-09-2010, 12:48 PM
are you questioning the washington times' reputation?

Not at all.

I just question why be critical of a request by the senator with no knowledge of the content. He may have been asking for funding for the Vet school at MU on one of a hundred ongoing research and development projects. Or for work on Meat processing and food safety. Perhaps funding on alternative fuel work like soy diesel or ethanol. Who knows?

Id rather we know the facts before tossing a stone.

HonestChieffan
02-09-2010, 12:49 PM
I know that ultra liberal Washington Times paper LMAO

LMAO
LMAO

I've got an idea. Why don't you read between the lines again and let us know what he asked for?

L.A. Chieffan
02-09-2010, 12:50 PM
lol

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 12:57 PM
I've got an idea. Why don't you read between the lines again and let us know what he asked for?

There is no reading between the lines they are hypocrites just like you.

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 01:01 PM
We know Bond is a hypocrite. He held up the GSA head nominee for 9 months so they fund his earmark for a $150 million dollar building in KC. But keeping talking out your ass hcf. LMAO

HonestChieffan
02-09-2010, 01:04 PM
Dirk, you posted the OP and all Im doing is asking for details. God boy, get your panty in a wad why dont you? Little in a Nancy mood today are we?

If you dont care to have your OP discussed then read it on the pot and don't post it.

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 01:10 PM
Dirk, you posted the OP and all Im doing is asking for details. God boy, get your panty in a wad why dont you? Little in a Nancy mood today are we?

If you dont care to have your OP discussed then read it on the pot and don't post it.

You are actually complaining about me posting an article from the very conservative Washington Times? If you have questions email the author but we already know Bond is a hypocrite and so apparently is alot of Republicans.

I just find it fascinating that the same Republicans who bash the stimulus because it hasn't created jobs are wanting money for pet projects because it will create jobs.

Chief Faithful
02-09-2010, 01:12 PM
I don't see anything Hypocritical in standing against a bill and voting against a bill then taking advantage of it after it is passed. Once it is passed it is passed and it is there to use.

HonestChieffan
02-09-2010, 01:14 PM
You are actually complaining about me posting an article from the very conservative Washington Times? If you have questions email the author but we already know Bond is a hypocrite and so apparently is alot of Republicans.

I just find it fascinating that the same Republicans who bash the stimulus because it hasn't created jobs are wanting money for pet projects because it will create jobs.

Did i criticize the Times?

I have a suggestion. Next election, don't vote for Bond. That will show him.

Pitt Gorilla
02-09-2010, 01:15 PM
Not at all.

I just question why be critical of a request by the senator with no knowledge of the content. He may have been asking for funding for the Vet school at MU on one of a hundred ongoing research and development projects. Or for work on Meat processing and food safety. Perhaps funding on alternative fuel work like soy diesel or ethanol. Who knows?

Id rather we know the facts before tossing a stone.Are you suggesting that you've never been critical without complete knowledge of a situation?

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 01:18 PM
Did i criticize the Times?

I have a suggestion. Next election, don't vote for Bond. That will show him.

yeah you said slanted BS posts. I am sure you know Bond is retiring so he doesn't care and his true colors are shining through.

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 01:28 PM
I don't see anything Hypocritical in standing against a bill and voting against a bill then taking advantage of it after it is passed. Once it is passed it is passed and it is there to use.

I do when they go speak to the media bashing it like they all have.

Baby Lee
02-09-2010, 01:34 PM
Why he criticized the stimulus isn't important, nor is what he sought funds for.

When spinning a partisan point in your favor, broad strokes are your arsena, the broader the betterl.

It's only when defending a partisan point not in your favor that details gain relevance.

mlyonsd
02-09-2010, 01:37 PM
I think we can all at least agree that if you're going to be giving out handfulls of unprinted money its best the republicans are doing the spending instead of the democrats.

Pitt Gorilla
02-09-2010, 01:46 PM
I think we can all at least agree that if you're going to be giving out handfulls of unprinted money its best the republicans are doing the spending instead of the democrats.I can't see why party affiliation would matter.

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 01:47 PM
I think we can all at least agree that if you're going to be giving out handfulls of unprinted money its best the republicans are doing the spending instead of the democrats.

yeah that $1.2 trillion dollar medicare bill was awesome that you supported

wild1
02-09-2010, 01:51 PM
If all this money is going to be printed / borrowed from China / spent, and there's no way to stop it, the least our legislators can do is try to steer some fraction of it into worthwhile projects.

This seems to be a classic case of a person reading a woefully biased article without applying any critical thinking to it and thus developing precisely the opinion that the press intended to give people with no critical thinking skills

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 01:55 PM
If all this money is going to be printed / borrowed from China / spent, and there's no way to stop it, the least our legislators can do is try to steer some fraction of it into worthwhile projects.

This seems to be a classic case of a person reading a woefully biased article without applying any critical thinking to it and thus developing precisely the opinion that the press intended to give people with no critical thinking skills

I know that ultra left wing Washington Times is evil. LMAO

mlyonsd
02-09-2010, 01:59 PM
I can't see why party affiliation would matter.

Check your sarcasm meter.

Chief Faithful
02-09-2010, 02:34 PM
I do when they go speak to the media bashing it like they all have.

Why? For example, politicians talk about the evils of lobbyists and how they have to campaign to raise money constantly. Are they hyprocritical to accept the money?

I don't see a difference unless you think only those that agree with the ideology can benefit their constituency.

dirk digler
02-09-2010, 02:46 PM
Why? For example, politicians talk about the evils of lobbyists and how they have to campaign to raise money constantly. Are they hyprocritical to accept the money?

I don't see a difference unless you think only those that agree with the ideology can benefit their constituency.

Actually I think they are.

googlegoogle
02-10-2010, 03:10 AM
It actually makes sense since a portion of it was stolen from the public.

Why wouldn't they want it back.