November 9, 2007

All Hail The Pork Queen

Guess which presidential candidate has the temerity to talk fiscal responsibility while outstripping the other candidates in pork-barrel spending? It turns out the Woodstock museum was only the headline act in a long concert of earmarking for Hillary Clinton. Not only does she lead the Senate delegation in this cycle's presidential race, but despite her junior status, she earmarked more than five times more money than her nearest competitor:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) has won tens of millions of dollars more in federal earmarks this year than her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, even though two of them have significantly more Senate seniority.

A review of the first three appropriations conference reports finished by Senate and House negotiators shows that Clinton has successfully requested at least $530 million worth of projects.

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), Clinton’s chief rival for the nomination, has so far won $40.6 million in earmarked funds for his constituents, despite the fact that his home-state colleague and booster, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), sits on the Appropriations Committee. ....

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who came to the Senate in 1981, helped place $100 million worth of earmarks in the three spending bills that have emerged from House-Senate negotiations.

Joe Biden only has $67 million in earmarks in these first three bills. Put together, the rest of the Senators have around $210 million in pork aggregate, or less than half of that garnered by Hillary. The House has its pork King in John Murtha; Hillary, who expected a coronation in the Democratic primaries, certainly has won one as queen of pork spending.

Where did the money originate? Hillary has $130 million in the defense bill for 59 separate projects. Porking up defense spending in a time of war may seem bad enough, but Hillary doesn't stop there. She added $348 million in the Veteran Affairs spending bill, too. Almost all of these earmarks have Chuck Schumer as co-sponsor, perhaps as a wingman to shift blame when the appropriations came to light.

The Clintons prove once again that they have no interest in reforming government and ending corruption. After seven years in the Senate, they like the gravy train just the way it is, and Hillary apparently wants to be Chief Conductor. The race to pay off contributors and protect incumbencies has gone unabated by the Senator from New York, and one can imagine just how much she will amplify this as President.


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