Friday, May 2, 2008
2008 Congressional Pig Book
You may not realize it, but members of the House of Representatives can lease a car and have it paid for by you -- the taxpayer. And it's not just the car, but gas, registration, insurance … the works and there's no limit on how much they can spend.
Congressman Charles Rangel was recently seen getting out of his Cadillac DeVille,which he leases for $774 per month. Then there was Congressman Jose Serrano, getting out of his Buick LaCrosse, which he leases for $317per month. And how about this one: Congressman Gregory Meeks wasrecently seen waiting for Congressman John Conyers to step out of Meeks' Lexus LS460, which Meeks leases for $998 per month.
All those leases are picked up by taxpayers through a little-known program available only to members of the House of Representatives.
Members of the House who choose to lease through the program have had a great deal of leeway. Congressman Anthony Weinerof Brooklyn, for example, leases a 2008 Chevy impala for $219/month.Congressman Ed Towns of Brooklyn used to lease a Lincoln for $845 permonth, but switched to a 2008 mini-SUV made by Lincoln, the MKX, which costs $715 per month.
The U.S. Senate does not permit its members to lease cars with public money.
Do you appreciate this?
Porker of the Year 2007
Winner: Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.)
CAGW’s 2008 Pig Book Digs Up $17.2 Billion in Pork
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today released the 2008 Congressional Pig Book, the latest installment in an 18-year exposé of pork-barrel spending.
“When Congress adopted earmark reforms last year, there was hope that the number and cost of earmarks would be cut in half. By any measure, that has not occurred,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.
In fiscal year 2008, Congress stuffed 11,610 projects (the second highest total ever) worth $17.2 billion into the 12 appropriations bills. That is a 337 percent increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007. Alaska led the nation with $556 in pork per capita ($380 million total), followed by Hawaii with $221 ($283 million) and North Dakota with $208 ($133 million). CAGW has identified $271 billion in total pork since 1991.
For the first time, the names of members of Congress were added to the projects. The top three porkers were members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, beginning with Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) with $892 million; Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) with $469 million; and Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) with $465 million.
The Pig Book Summary profiles the most egregious examples, breaks down pork per capita by state, and presents the annual Oinker Awards. All 11,610 projects are listed in a searchable database on CAGW’s website www.cagw.org. Examples of pork in the 2008 Pig Book include:
$3 million for The First Tee;
$1,950,000 for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service;
$460,752 for hops research;
$211,509 for olive fruit fly research in Paris, France;
$196,000 for the renovation and transformation of the historic Post Office in Las Vegas;
$188,000 for the Lobster Institute in Maine; and
$148,950 for the Montana Sheep Institute.
“Americans do not send their hard-earned tax dollars to Washington so that Sen. Daniel Inouye can bring home $173 million in defense pork and receive the Pacific Fleeced Award or get sapped by $4.8 million going to wood utilization research, on which the government has spent $91 million since 1985,” concluded Schatz.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.