Earmarks

Minnesota lawmakers get off light in an analysis of earmarks in defense authorization bills released today.

According to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, a House bill contains 20 percent more “earmarks” (some call it “pork”) despite pledges in Congress to reduce them. It also found 60% of the members of the House Armed Services Committee got campaign contributions from the companies to whom they steered government funds.

One of the committee members, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, has refused earmarks, however. Six other members of the committee — four Republicans and two Democrats — also refused earmarks.

The Senate version has fewer earmarks than a year ago, and only two Minnesota projects are included. Sen. Norm Coleman inserted $2 million for hypersonic research at the University of Minnesota (I’ve written about that here). And Coleman and Sen. Amy Klobuchar inserted $4.5 million for a “fuel cell hangar” for the Air National Guard base in Duluth. Coleman’s office issues a news release on that project about a month ago.

“Both parties talk a good game on cutting earmarks, but at first opportunity, the House larded up,” Stephen Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group told the Washington Post. “This is just another broken promise.”

  • David Wilford

    Earmarks are just an easy issue for the usual suspects to trot out every election. The real money in terms of waste is in the military budget, but that’s not an easy sell so you don’t hear about that.