The Office of Management and the Budget defines earmarks as “funds provided by the Congress for projects or programs where the congressional direction … circumvents the merit-based or competitive allocation process, or specifies the location or recipient.”
In other words, an earmark is a little spending measure that a congressmember gets tacked onto a bill in order to bring benefits to his or her own district. (See also “pork.”)
However much we voters might dislike earmarks, we have to admit it’s nice when our districts get a little piece of the Federal budget.
But what about when the purpose of an earmark is to benefit the Congressman himself?
On May 31 Fox News presented “Porked: Earmarks for Profit,” which told about three Congressmen who’ve been doing just that. I’m proud (or maybe not) to report that my own Rep, Ken Calvert, is one of this elite group of crooks.
Congressman Ken Calvert …has earmarked millions in taxpayer dollars to build roads and a transportation hub near commercial real estate properties he personally owns.
Calvert also refused to sit down with FOX News for an interview, although his staffers did call FOX producers, stating that Calvert pushed the earmarks at the request of local government authorities, and that the House Ethics Committee ruled, in effect, that it was ethical for a congressman to earmark money for a project that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d personally benefit from Ã¢â‚¬â€ so long as others were making money, too.
Nice. Calvert doesn’t just write earmarks that benefit folks close to home, he conjures up pork benefiting folks in his home. What a guy.
Luckily this November there’s going to be a great alternative to Calvert on the ballot: Bill Hedrick.