Culture of Corruption Update

Remember last year when the Democrats took over Congress, they campaigned on, among other things, reducing the number of earmarks in Congress. Let’s check into see how they’ve done:

A bill the Senate approved last week to authorize water projects contains 446 earmarks, and the House version has 692.

The Senate bill was the first to come before the chamber since it adopted new rules this year on the practice.

Those rules require earmarks’ sponsors to be identified, ending the secret process in which lawmakers anonymously inserted projects into legislation. Taxpayer watchdogs hoped the new guidelines would curb enthusiasm for earmarks. And they thought Democrats’ decision this year to pass a funding bill without earmarks signaled a dramatic shift.

If the water bill is a sign of things to come, the appetite for earmarks remains undiminished.

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” grumbled Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), an outspoken critic of pork-barrel spending.


The Senate bill, with its 446 projects, has more earmarks than a version drafted last year when Republicans were in charge. That bill had 272.

What do the Democrats have to say for themselves?

“Just because there are earmarks doesn’t mean that it’s business as usual,” said Jim Berard, spokesman for Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which wrote the House bill.

Democrats have taken steps to “ensure that the earmark abuse that has occurred in the past does not happen again,” he added. “Earmarks can no longer be inserted anonymously, in the dead of night, to please a powerful lobbyist or political supporter. While this will not satisfy some critics, it is a major step toward reestablishing trust with the American public.”

So because Democrat fundraisers haven’t been as brazen as Jack Abramoff, it’s perfectly okay to buy votes in Congressional districts with taxpayer money? This is not what the American people were saying last year when they trusted the Democrats with Congress.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
  • Kaligula

    The American people voted to check-and-balance 6 years of a unitary executive who was floundering in an elective/preemptive war. That’s the bottom line. No one was under any illusion that the democrats were going to reform earmarks.

    The “culture of corruption” was only a secondary motive that served as the final push for the american people to vote democratic.

  • UCrawford

    I’d agree with Kaligula. I was happy to see the Dems win, if only to break up the unconditional support for Bush on Iraq and his foreign policy, but I was under no illusions about their ultimate motives and figured they’d try to gouge the system as much as they could too. At least it slowed the growth of government temporarily.

    There’s no significant difference between the Republican and the Democratic parties these days, the mainstreams of both parties are whole-heartedly pushing for expanded government, they just disagree on where to spend…which is why I’m more than happy to “throw my vote away” on Ron Paul.

  • James J Goswick

    The root of the problem is both parties because they both have the same agenda, to destroy the
    Constitution, by mergeing us into a regional govt. that will destroy our borders.

    The founding fathers would fire most of the govt. and hang several for their subversions of the Constitution. God help us.

  • js290

    People vote still thinking they’re making a difference.

    Tavis: You don’t vote, and I’ve seen you try to explain this a thousand times, and I thought I’d sit with you, right across from you, face to face, and maybe this one time, I’m gonna get this.

    George: I don’t think it’s that you don’t understand it, ’cause that wouldn’t be true of you. I think it’s that it’s hard for you to accept my explanation. It’s a little facile. Um, first of all, the short answer, which has a laugh in it, is I think if you vote, you have no right to complain.

    Tavis: Ha ha ha!

    George: I always turn that around.

    Tavis: Exactly.

    George: And I say, listen, here’s the deal. If you vote and you put someone in office and they become dishonest or incompetent and they turn out these bad bills and they sign these bad bills and they create a mess, you helped create it. You voted for them. I, on the other hand, who didn’t even get out of bed on election day, had nothing to do with it. I have every right to complain about the mess you created.