Congress Spends Billions in Earmarks: Department of Defense Budget Has $5 Billion in Pet Projects
by Sharyl Attkisson CBS News 11-25-09
…The 2010 Defense Department budget starts at a whopping $623 billion. Pet projects of individual members of Congress add 1,858 earmarks equaling $5 billion tax dollars on top of it.
Sen. Tom Coburn is against earmarking altogether, saying it's fraught with conflicts of interest. Party leaders and those on the appropriations committees get the lion's share of earmarks.
"The appropriators reign supreme because they're like pirates who divide up the bounty and share it among themselves," Coburn said.
There is a stack of House and Senate earmarks tacked onto next year's Defense Department budget without the normal public review. None of these add-ons was important enough to be included in the regular budget. A lot of the companies getting tax dollars have campaign ties to the member of Congress giving the money.
For example, Congressman Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii awarded Pacific Biodiesel a $3.5 million earmark to try to grow fuel for the Army in Hawaii. It turns out the founder of Pacific Biodiesel is a co-chair of the Congressman's gubernatorial campaign.
The pattern is repeated over and over.
Abercrombie also gets donations from defense contractor BAE. BAE gets a defense earmark for "mammal awareness."….
RESPONSE: Abercrombie defends $3.5M earmark after being nailed by CBS
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