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David Fallis, staff writer with the Washington Post's Investigations Unit , discusses the Washington Post's investigation into the lack of transparency surrounding congressional earmarks.
I'm a mid-road democrat who agrees earmarks should be allowed; but a recent book: "Throw the Rascals Out!" reveals how members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have enriched themselves ENORMOUSLY by pushing through earmarks benefical to themselves and changes to EM program are needed. Author Peter Schwitzer's talk can be heard/seen on BookTV.org. I found it hair-raising. Hope you'll have an interview with him on your show. Only ONE(1) person besides the Congress member must benefit from earmark and no problem if it's family member or friend! Hope you'll have the author on for an interview. Book is recommended by Bill Moyers.
I live in Steve Isreal's congressional district. According to 2010 census data there are 21,776 people living within two miles of Congressman Isreal's home. IO don't know that "two miles" are a good measure of being close to a home. My county, Suffolk, has the same population as Manhattan.
I'm waiting for a study that tracks the entire $3.2T federal expenditure from hand to mouth, as it were. I want to see how much of it is actually going back to donors. The military buying their meals 'ready made' rather than training cooks to provide meals for troops; buying books for school districts from my son's publishing company; etc.
For me it is all a matter of who you now, not what you know. People are people and I can't fault them for helping the people they know. We need more seats in the House. Retirement benefits for public service should not attach until sometime in their fourth term. We need public financing of elections. We need to reduce - and tightly monitor - private funds including the candidate's own wealth.
I don't get the beef. We elect people from our area to go to bat for our local needs so if they are not the only recipients to benefit then that means that they are doing thier jobs!
I don't understand. A congressman represents a small geographical area that they presumably live in. If they get federal money earmarked to improve the infrastructure in their neighborhood (i.e. their district) that is them doing their job, right? They are in the government to improve the lot of the people in their district. If a NYC representative gets funding for the MTA are they going to be subject to ethics scrutiny because there is a subway stop on their block?
Sounds like another muckraking expedition that didn't turn up very much muck! Of course congresspeople are supposed to help their districts! That's what they are sent to Congress by their local constituents for, to bring home some bacon! They are not just there to debate foreign policy or general issues. They are there to help their district! They are not there to enrich themselves, in theory. It sounds like your guest did a lot of work, but didn't turn up much for his efforts.
As a resident of NJ, which falls in the bottom few states or tax sent to Washington vs money returned/spent in NJ, I say bring them in! Brig in money for local infrastructure, parks, schools, community service organizations. Other states get huge amounts of federal dollars- army bases, large government employee centers, etc. as long as it isn't a bridge to no where or blatantly corrupt, I am fine with it. For instance, the entire NJ, NY, CT area would have benefited from a third rail tunnel but the Feds barely ponied up a quarter of the cost. The NYC airports have an enormous impact on air travel in the whole country- lets get some fed funds to study expansion, air traffic control upgrades, etc
So what happens to the earmark when there not immediately spent?
I think it's time that the media educate the general public to the fact that Congressmen go to Washington to (supposedly) legislate for the good of the country-supposedly- and at one time they did that. Thus part of that means getting funding for projects in their own districts including infrastructure and other meaningful projects that improve their districts for the good of the community and the benefit of the country at large. So "earmarks" are part of what the congress gets for the good of all. Now you can go off on how that's corrupted as most things do these days by governments and businesses alike. How building a billion dollar bridge to an island that is for the good of a handful of people is not a good earmark, for example. But earmarks are part of what the congress does, it's the type of earmarks that are in question.
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