Posted by Curt on 13 November, 2006 at 7:58 pm. 1 comment.

As more of the exit polls are released it appears that corruption was on the minds of voters a bit more then Iraq was:

For the first time today, we have some actual data on the composition of the national electorate.

As reported by CNN, exit polling has begun to trickle out and — at least in partial returns — the data suggests corruption may be a bigger issue on voters’ minds than previously imagined.

Asked what issues were “extremely important” in casting their ballots, 42 percent of voters cited corruption while 40 percent said terrorism. The economy was cited by 39 percent, and 37 percent mentioned the war in Iraq, according to the CNN report.

Corruption you say? How about earmarks? While there doesn’t seem to be anything corrupt about earmarks on first glance once you dig a bit further you get a better feel for how these earmarks may be used to give a little something to your friends, such as Nancy Pelosi did:

Citizens Against Government Waste, a critic of such “pork-barrel” spending, has calculated that Pelosi’s district received nearly $31.3 million through earmarks in the last two fiscal years.

Among the biggest earmarks identified by the group were $5.6 million for the UC San Francisco neurology department and $4 million for Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Both were inserted into the 2006 defense spending bill.

Three years ago, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Pelosi had secured $1 million for the University of San Francisco’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, which was started by her longtime advisor and campaign treasurer.

At the time, the 10-term congresswoman from California’s 8th District said the center had received the funding on its merits.

Pelosi has defended her earmarking, including at a news conference in March. “There are many earmarks that are very worthy,” she said. “All of mine, as a matter of fact.”

All of her earmarks good, all of Republican earmarks bad. Makes sense right? Doesn’t matter that her longtime friend reaped a million dollar benefit from her friendship right? No corruption there.

She vows to make reform of earmarks a priority tho:

“There has to be transparency,” the California congresswoman told USA Today last week. “I’d just as soon do away with all (earmarks), but that probably isn’t realistic.”

So does Harry Reid:

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vows to make reform of congressional earmarks a priority of his tenure, arguing that members need to be more transparent when they load pet projects for their districts into federal spending bills.

How special. Just one problem. The latest earmark from Sen. Reid included a ton of money for a bridge across the Colorado River. All well and good until you find out that he owns a ton of property on the other side of that proposed bridge.

Reid called funding for construction of a bridge over the Colorado River, among other projects, “incredibly good news for Nevada” in a news release after passage of the 2005 transportation bill. He didn’t mention, though, that just across the river in Arizona, he owns 160 acres of land several miles from proposed bridge sites and that the bridge could add value to his real estate investment.

Reid denies any personal financial interest in his efforts to secure $18 million for a new span connecting Laughlin with Bullhead City, Ariz.

“Sen. Reid’s support for the bridge had absolutely nothing to do with property he owns,” said Rebecca Kirszner, Reid’s communications director. “Sen. Reid supported this project as part of his continuing efforts to move Nevada forward.”

Picture getting clearer now? Now how bad can earmarks really be?

Earmarking was at the heart of the case against former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe), now in prison for using his congressional seat to secure federal funding for individuals who provided him personal benefits. It was also the basis for much of the wealth amassed by criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who referred to the appropriations committee as “the favor factory.”

You mean like favor’s for friends? Hell, while your helping a friend out why don’t you throw yourself a bone too, say, across the river.

Like Pelosi, Reid say’s that hey, earmarks are not all that bad:

When pressed about his position on earmarks in an interview on public television in January, Reid acknowledged abuses, but added: “There’s nothing basically wrong with earmarks. They’ve been going on since we were a country.”

But the same article notes that earmarks have increased in just the past 10 years from 1,439 in 1995 to 15,268 last year. I would say there is definately a bit of a problem here.

The kicker in this bridge earmark was that it was tacked onto the recent transportation bill which was opposed by BOTH Arizona Republican Senators:


Arizona’s two Republican senators voted against the entire transportation bill as pure pork.

Then we have Obama:

Obama inked a book deal after winning election to the Senate in 2004. With his new wealth, in June 2005, Obama bought a $1.65 million mansion in Kenwood, some $300,000 below asking price. Rezko’s wife Rita paid $625,000, the list price, for an adjacent empty lot the Rezkos may develop.

The deals closed the same day because the seller insisted both parcels be sold at the same time.

When the deals went down, Rezko — who befriended Obama when he was a nobody Harvard law student — was already cast in news stories as a controversial figure and political fundraiser.

By January 2006, when Obama bought a strip of Rezko’s yard, Rezko’s status was elevated to politically radioactive, since it was known he was under investigation by federal prosecutors.

The Rezko story broke last week, when Obama was wrapping up a national tour serving several purposes: promote his new book, The Audacity of Hope, raise money and stump for Democrats, and lay the groundwork for a possible 2008 White House bid.

Obama, in a written reply to questions submitted to him from the Sun-Times about Rezko last week, said he made a mistake and “I regret it.”

Who is Rezco?

Rezko has pleaded not guilty to charges he plotted to squeeze millions of dollars in kickbacks out of firms seeking state business, allegations that put him at the center of a growing scandal surrounding Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration.

Rezko could not be reached Saturday. He also has pleaded not guilty to allegations he obtained a $10.5 million business loan through fraud and swindled a group of investors.

Rezko and his companies donated at least $19,500 to Obama’s state Senate campaigns and federal fund.

Rezko also held a 2003 fundraiser for Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Starting to get the picture yet? Let’s move on to Mr. Cut and Run:

For more than a decade, Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania has operated a political trading post in a back corner of the House of Representatives.

A gang of about two dozen Democrats mill around his seat. A procession of others walk back to request pet spending projects, known as earmarks. And Republicans come by, asking him to enlist some of those Democrats to join them on close votes. “Whether they get what they want in the bill or they get the votes they are looking for, nobody ever leaves completely disappointed,” said Representative Paul E. Kanjorski, a Pennsylvania Democrat often found in what is known as the Murtha corner.

Outside Washington, Mr. Murtha, a Vietnam veteran and longtime hawk, may be best known for his break with the president over the Iraq war last fall. But inside the Capitol, he is best known for turning earmarks into power. As the top Democrat on the House military spending subcommittee, he often delivers Democratic votes to Republican leaders in a tacit exchange for earmarks for himself and his allies.

[…]Some members of Congress complain that earmarks corrupt lawmaking in other ways. “They are used as internal bribery in order to get members to vote for a piece of legislation they wouldn’t ordinarily give two minutes to,” said Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

No one is more adept at such trading than Mr. Murtha, say current and former members, Congressional aides and outside observers. “He delivers Democrats for key votes, which increases his clout and ability to get more earmarks, which then increases his ability to get Democratic votes,” said Steve Ellis, a vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Crooked doesn’t even begin to describe this guy and that’s before we get into his bribery case in the 1980’s.

But now guess who is backing Murtha for Majority leader? Nancy Pelosi.

Your strong voice for national security, the war on terror and Iraq provides genuine leadership for our party, and I count on you to continue to lead on these vital issues,” Pelosi wrote Murtha Sunday in a letter obtained by The Hill. “For this and for all you have done for Democrats in the past and especially this last year, I am pleased to support your candidacy for majority leader for the 110th Congress

But hey, why stop at supporting one bribe taking politician when you can support two?

Payback happens all the time in politics. But choosing Hastings as chairman of anything — let alone a committee as important as Intelligence — is just plain wrong. This committee has oversight on the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and Armed Forces Intelligence. Hastings shouldn’t be allowed near anything having to do with such vital national security matters. It’s amazing he’s even in Congress with his record.

While a federal judge in Florida — and only two years after being appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter — Hastings was charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for giving a lenient sentence to two men charged and convicted of racketeering.

He was acquitted of the charge of bribery in a Miami court after an alleged accomplice went to prison rather than testify against him. But in 1989 the Democratic-controlled House took a look at the evidence and impeached Hastings for bribery and perjury by a 413-3 vote. The Senate — also Democratic controlled — convicted him on eight articles of impeachment and removed him from the bench. Pelosi voted for Hastings’ impeachment.

[…]Hastings has one of the worst absentee records on Capitol Hill. When he does appear, his record on national security is nearly as much a disgrace as his past. He has voted against electronic surveillance, against the Patriot Act, against trial of terrorist combatants by military tribunals, against terrorist financial tracking measures and against border control. In other words, he’s down on national security, against all funding for it, and should be the last person ever considered to become the head of a House committee charged with overseeing intelligence.

Should Pelosi actually follow through and give Hastings the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee, it would turn the House of Representatives into Theater of the Absurd.

A few days ago Pelosi remarked that she was going to drain the swamp of corruption out of Congress. Looks to me like she is turning the spigot on full blast to ensure the swamp is completely filled by the time 2008 comes around.

This is the face of our new Congress.

Other’s Blogging:


A few days ago Pelosi remarked that she was going to drain the swamp of corruption out of Congress. Looks to me like she is turning the spigot on full blast to ensure the swamp is completely filled by the time 2008 comes around.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x