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Taxpayers being robbed blind-DC earmark corruption exposed

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posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 02:50 PM
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Taxpayers being robbed blind-DC earmark corruption exposed


seatletimes.nwsource.com

Tucked away on Seattle's Portage Bay, a sleek, 85-foot speedboat sat idle for years — save for an annual jaunt to maintain its engine.

The Navy paid $4.5 million to build the boat. But months before the hull ever touched water, the Navy gave the boat to the University of Washington. The school never found a use for it, either.

Why would the Navy waste taxpayer dollars on a boat that nobody wanted?

Blame it on Sen. Patty Murray and Congressmen Norm Dicks and Brian Baird. All three exercised their political muscle to slip language into a 2002 spending bill to force the Navy to buy the boat from Edmonds shipbuilder Guardian Marine International.

Year after year, the Washington lawmakers did favors for the tiny company, inserting four "earmarks" into different bills to force the Navy and Coast Guard to buy boats they didn't ask for — $17.65 million in all. None of the boats was used as Congress intended.

(visit the link for the full news article)



[edit on 29-1-2008 by DimensionalDetective]

[edit on 29-1-2008 by DimensionalDetective]




posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 02:50 PM
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Wow-This is MUST reading IMHO. This epitomizes the true contempt that our gov has for the average working class taxpayer. It is beyond disgusting, and how these idiots get away with this is stunning...more of the story below:


Earmarks are federal dollars that members of Congress dole out to favor seekers — often campaign donors. In the process, lawmakers advocate for the companies, helping them bypass the normal system of evaluation and competition.

This can result in earmarks that are wasteful or potentially harmful.

For example, Murray directed $6 million to a Redmond company for high-tech battle gear that the Army had rejected as flawed for its armored-vehicle Stryker Brigade.

Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., directed the Marines to buy $2 million of combat T-shirts from an Oregon company. But they couldn't be used in battle in Iraq due to a subsequent ban on polyester garments that could melt under fire and badly burn the troops.

Until recently, the earmark process was secretive. Congress did not have to publicly reveal the names of companies getting the contracts or those of the sponsoring lawmakers.

The Seattle Times investigated the 2007 defense bill, examining the relationships between who got money in the bill and who gave to lawmakers' campaign funds. Reporters were able to tie nearly half of the bill's 2,700 earmarks to their sponsoring lawmakers.




seatletimes.nwsource.com
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 29-1-2008 by DimensionalDetective]

[edit on 29-1-2008 by DimensionalDetective]

[edit on 29-1-2008 by DimensionalDetective]



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 03:10 PM
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Dont u think its about time, people actually stopped voting for these people in any way shape or form, untill the people can create a system that includes monitoring these political people, when we all work our jobs, take care of our monies, and are answerable to almost everyone, why are these people always above the law, its like me create these people worlds for them let them do what they choose and then we do it again, i wait for the day when people all over the world unite to the words of enough is enough.



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 03:33 PM
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It just gets worse and worse...It must be nice to just be able to play with all the suffering, tax-paying peon's money with no conscience....Continued:


The Times found:

People who benefit from earmarks generally give money to those who deliver them: Of the nearly 500 companies identified as getting 2007 defense earmarks, 78 percent had employees or political action committees who made campaign contributions to Congress in the past six years.

Though individual contributions are limited by law, people at companies that received defense earmarks gave lawmakers more than $47 million.

The 2,700 earmarks Congress put in the 2007 military spending bill cost $11.8 billion. The Pentagon didn't ask for the money in its budget and, because its budget is capped by law, cuts had to be made to find room for the favors.

Nearly all members of Congress dole out earmarks. Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, an earmark critic, calls the practice "circular fundraising" because of the perception that tax dollars given out as favors come back as campaign donations. "I think that most taxpayers would say that it doesn't pass the smell test," he said.

Winslow Wheeler, formerly a congressional aide who dealt with defense earmarks for years, said no one in Congress asks for campaign donations in exchange for earmarks because they don't have to; everyone understands the process.

"It's not talked about," but if favors are not followed with donations, Wheeler said, "it's noticed — you may get a little bit less help the next year."

Murray, Dicks and Baird say emphatically that their favors to defense contractors never come with strings attached. The distinction is critical because soliciting a campaign contribution in exchange for an earmark is a crime.

"People, if they want to support me, they support me," Dicks said. "If they don't want to support me, I still might do their earmark — if I thought it was a worthy project."

Earmarking has exploded in the past decade, quintupling from 1996 to 2005, according to the Congressional Research Service.

During "The Season," the first three months each year on Capitol Hill, thousands of favor seekers flood the offices of Congress, asking for earmarks. Appointments stack one on top of the other, tying up staffers for months, as lawmakers winnow through the myriad requests and decide what to buy.

Jack Abramoff, the once-powerful lobbyist convicted of influence peddling, called the process "the favor factory."

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, who sponsors some earmarks, says that lawmakers find it easier to raise money from people they know from committee work. "I think it's very hard [for the public] not to have the impression that in some way what you do on the committee is some way related to how much money you get."

Officially, the Pentagon opposes earmarks because they circumvent its own efforts to set spending priorities, thoroughly evaluate products and seek competitive bids.

Some military officials, however, eagerly support earmarks that expand their programs. Gerald Darsch, who heads food research at Natick Soldier Systems Center, backed Murray when she set aside money to develop longer-lasting tomatoes and rations, a move that substantially increased his budget.

A senior Army official who fulfills Congress' earmarks said he first learns of them when the defense bill passes. He spoke only if his name was not used.

Often, he said he can't figure them out from the cryptic descriptions in the bill.

"If there's a new mark out there for something we've never seen before, [we go] back to the subcommittee and say, 'Hey, you put an earmark on this line for this amount of dollars. What the hell is it?' Because some of this stuff — hell, I've been in the Army for 20 years, and I don't know what some of that stuff is."



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 04:15 PM
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The US system of government has broke down!

Finally, the greedy politicians have figured out a way to fill their pockets while the citizens think they are working in their best interests.

The only way to stop this is to end ALL lobbying and to put an end to campaign donations from corporations. Politicians are elected to represent the people of the US, not the big corporations of the US.

The people should be the ones to determine, thru campaign donations, who we want to see campaign for office, it is wrong to allow big corporations to contribute to campaigns.



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 04:40 PM
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Wow!! This is truly a shocker. Our elected officials are stealing from us?
I bet the next thing your going to tell me is there was a coup de etat in the U.S. in 1963 and that the present regime grabbed total power and abolished the Constitution by blowing up some skyscrapers in New York City with NUKES......



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 04:59 PM
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Originally posted by ItsHumanNature
Wow!! This is truly a shocker. Our elected officials are stealing from us?
I bet the next thing your going to tell me is there was a coup de etat in the U.S. in 1963 and that the present regime grabbed total power and abolished the Constitution by blowing up some skyscrapers in New York City with NUKES......


I like the outrage they display because it is appropriate and is something we all need to harness and focus on throwing the bums out.

Sure it's unlikley,, but I still find it more refreshing then your sarcasm,, that just seems mmmmm

arrogant.

- Con



posted on Jan, 29 2008 @ 08:14 PM
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reply to post by Conspiriology
 



Indeed. It's REALLY a sad state of affairs when this type of flagrant 'skimming off the top' of millions of taxpayer dollars has become so routine that our reaction is one of complete complacency. I think that WE the people are half the problem for not getting more involved and giving these crooks the as*-kickings they need, if nothing more than flooding these 'representatives' with letters of how disgusted we are with this 'business as usual'. bleeding-us-dry corruption these crooks are getting away with, and letting every last one of them know that our votes will be going elsewhere come election time. This sh** should not be acceptable-period.

I work too freakin hard to just watch my taxpayer dollars be flushed down the toilet like this.


[edit on 29-1-2008 by DimensionalDetective]



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