Pork Chalks Up Two More Victories

Stephen Keen /

Yet another controversy involving Congressional earmarks is brewing in Washington. This time around a lobbying firm, the PMA group (raided by the FBI in November), is accused of making fraudulent donations to members of Congress in exchange for federal pork directed toward their clients.

Given mounting news reports of scandal involving earmarks, you’d think Members of Congress would jump at the opportunity to prove they’re clean. You’d be wrong.

Two illuminating pieces of pork legislation were passed by the House yesterday. The first vote, the 2009 Omnibus appropriations bill, churned out the waste we’ve unfortunately become accustomed to – $2,192,000 for grape genetics, $2,673,000 for wood education, and $1,049,000 for Mormon crickets just to name a few.

The second vote, however, threatened to expose the not-so-secret reality that earmarks are often directed towards individuals and organizations in exchange for campaign contributions. Inspired by the allegations against PMA, Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced a resolution to “investigate the relationship between earmark requests already made by Members and the source and timing of past campaign contributions.” Yesterday, a motion to kill the resolution passed 226-182.