Tuesday, February 26, 2008

John Murtha: Porker Of The Year!

Not so long ago, Nancy "San Fran Nan" Pelosi promised that Democrats would "drain the swamp," of Washington's pork-barrel spending.

And now Democrat congressman John Murtha (yes,
that John Murtha) of Pennsylvania has now been crowned the King of Pork by Citizens Against Government Waste:
Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today announced the final results of its online poll for the 2007 Porker of the Year. Rep. John “Jack” Murtha (D-Pa.) won in a landslide victory, receiving 63.4 percent of the vote. A distant second, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) received 10.6 percent, while Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) came in with 9.9 percent, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) had 6.7 percent, and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) both finished up with 4.1 percent. The finalists were chosen by CAGW staff from among the 12 Porker of the Month winners for 2007.

Rep. Jack Murtha has long been known inside the Beltway for using threats, power plays, and backroom deals to control spending decisions. There is an area of the House floor known as “Murtha’s Corner,” where the legendary appropriator dispenses earmarks. The overwhelming vote for Porker of the Year vote shows that his shameful behavior is attracting attention throughout the country. The congressman inserts pork whenever he can to serve himself and his district. In fiscal year 2008, he brought home 72 pork projects worth $149.2 million.

The House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman was named May Porker of the Month for throwing a temper tantrum and threatening his colleagues over a challenge to the $23 million earmark for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) in Johnstown, Pa. in the Intelligence Authorization Act. In 2006, the House Government Reform Committee called the NDIC “an expensive and duplicative use of scarce federal drug enforcement resources.”

Rep. Murtha became infuriated by Rep. Mike Rogers’ (R-Mich.) motion to remove the NDIC earmark. According to Rogers, Rep. Murtha warned, “I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bills because they are gone and you will not get any earmarks now and forever. … That’s the way I do it!” Rep. Murtha also threatened a Boeing project in Rep. Todd Tiahrt’s (R-Kan.) district after he voted with Rep. Rogers.

Murtha violated House ethics rules by both failing to submit his required earmark certification for the NDIC in a timely manner and threatening to block the earmarks of those who voted against his project. A privileged resolution seeking a formal reprimand of Murtha was killed on a 219-189 party line vote.

His outburst was not an isolated incident. Rep. Murtha also purposefully put up roadblocks and barriers to hinder earmark accountability and reform. According to an October 2007 issue of Congressional Quarterly Weekly, Rep. Murtha’s response to a reporter’s inquiry regarding the difficulty of matching up earmark information in appropriations bills was: “So, you have to work. Tough [expletive].” The House Appropriation Committee included earmarks in its reports but they were unsearchable and the lists were difficult to read.

For flouting the rules and playing games with reform, while filling spending bills with pork and arrogantly threatening anyone that challenges his authority, Rep. Jack Murtha is the 2007 Porker of the Year. More information on the winner and finalists can be found on CAGW’s blog swineline.org/porkeroftheyear.
Given how Murtha has railed against the loss of both lives and treasure in Iraq, maybe he should also be made Clown Prince of The Kingdom of Hypocrisy as well.

Update: (02/27/08) Michelle Malkin is inviting everybody to Murtha's Pork Party.

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