Friday, May 12, 2006

Scandal?

Earlier today I reported that the Chair of the Appropriations Committee Jerry Lewis is mixed up in a growing scandal. Now it turns out that the FBI is investigating more members of the committee:

Federal investigators are examining the activities of several members of the House Appropriations Committee, including Representative Jerry Lewis, the California Republican and chairman of the panel that wields influence over government spending, government officials said Thursday.


At this point, there is no indication that Jimbo has any involvement in this brewing scandal, but the potential scandal revolves around "earmarking":

The officials said the inquiry was focused on the often-murky relationships among lobbyists, contractors and committee members, who are able to steer lucrative government contracts to favored vendors virtually free of outside oversight through a process known as earmarking.


Besides being behind this mess, earmarks were at the heart of both the Jack Abramoff scandal and the Duke Cunningham scandal (though this is one of two scandals growing from the Cunningham scandal). Here's what Jimbo told the Sub-Standard about earmarks back in January:

I've always defended them . . . the president proposes a budget and tells you clearly what his priorities are in that budget. . . . But when we do our budget, if we can't earmark, or use discretionary appropriations, we can't establish our priorities for our constituencies. There are parochial aspects to being a member of Congress.

And it came up with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

Rep. James Walsh, meeting with the Editorial Board last week, said he didn't think identifying "earmarks'' — meaning money or programs targeted for special interests — fit with an ethics bill. Technically, maybe not. But leaving it to another bill, at a later time, likely means nothing will be done. Now is the time to rein in influence-peddling of all kinds, including earmarks.


So there you have it, Jimbo supports earmarks. Bribes, scandals and cheated taxpayers be damned, Jimbo needs them to get re-elected.

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