May 22, 2007

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: More on the Democrats’ broken promises of reform:

When Democrats took control of Congress last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., promised voters that her party would “drain the swamp” and “lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.” Four month later, Democrats are reflooding the swamp with earmarks and more. . . .

No wonder the former head of the Congressional Accountability Project called Pelosi’s first pick for House Majority Leader “a one-man wrecking crew” of congressional ethics. Rogers has since filed a formal complaint, but don’t expect the House to hurry to consider it. Pelosi is defending Murtha against Rogers and other critics.

Earmarks have so distorted the legislative process that repealing even the worst of them is becoming nearly impossible. Members of Congress who dare challenge these sacred cows are on notice from Pelosi and Murtha that they will meet a similar fate as Rogers and Tiahrt. Looks like that swamp won’t be going dry anytime soon.

Meet the new boss, yada yada.

Meanwhile, from Roll Call, Mollohan, Town Do Battle Over Earmark:

The driving force behind earmarks is the notion that constituents back home will embrace the arrival of federal largesse in their neighborhoods.

But a town in West Virginia is trying to undo an earmark by taking back land a local nonprofit bought with federal money provided in an earmark from Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.).

Mollohan has been under investigation amid allegations that he has channeled earmarks to friends and campaign contributors and that he has profited personally from federal land purchases near property he owns.

Mollohan has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any offense, but he stepped down from the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct last year when the investigation into his earmarks was revealed.

Since then, one of his earmarks has become a local battleground and appears likely to drag the Department of Commerce into a legal fight over land that Mollohan directed the agency to buy.

In February, Mollohan wrote to the Commerce Department warning that one of his earmarks was in jeopardy and suggesting “it appears that it is necessary for the Department to become a party to this case in order to protect its investment in the project and the property in issue.”

Mollohan was referring to an attempt by the town of Davis, W.Va., to condemn 6 acres of the portion of land that the Canaan Valley Institute bought in 2002 for $7 million, money that came from earmarks Mollohan had attached to the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. . . .

Mollohan takes credit for creating the CVI, which since 1995 has studied watershed science and conservation in northern West Virginia, and he has provided a steady stream of earmarks to the organization to sustain it.

But the earmarks for the institute and other Mollohan-sponsored nonprofits have not been without controversy in the county, which has raised concerns about the increase in tax-exempt property. Davis Mayor Joe Drenning, who said he would not discuss the condemnation case because it is in litigation, said “probably 60 percent of the county is either no taxes or very little taxes” because it is either held by federal agencies or federally funded nonprofit groups such as the CVI.

Whatever this is, it doesn’t sound much like constituent service.

Then, of course, there’s always the business with the jets. So far, Pelosi’s record on reform is rather poor.

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