Duckworth Says "Outrageous Earmark" Is a Smelly Deal For Taxpayers
$2.3 million for Fertilizer Development Center in Alabama reeks
Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth today announced the winner of her "Outrageous Earmark of the Week" award: $2.3 million for the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) which was in the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2006 (HR 3057).
"Taxpayers have been funding these special projects for too long and most of them reek of backroom deals that won't see the light of day," said Duckworth. "We need to consider these projects in an open debate so we can clear the air and weigh them on their merits rather then shoveling them through major appropriations bills."
The use of earmarks has increased substantially in recent years, now accounting for more than $60 billion in annual spending.
"This isn't just a matter of responsible budgeting, it's also a matter of ethics reform," Duckworth said. "Members of Congress should put the interests of taxpayers before the interests of lobbyists."
Duckworth launched the "Outrageous Earmark of the Week" award a few weeks ago and has been highlighting on her campaign Website examples of pork-barrel spending that are costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year while contributing to growing scandals.
The first winner was a $500,000 earmark added to the 2006 Transportation/Treasury/HUD Appropriations Bill (HR 3058) for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina. The second winner was $234,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation in Edgefield, South Carolina, which was included in the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Act (HR 2744). The third winner was $950,000 for a parking facility at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, which was also included in the FY 2006 Transportation/Treasury/HUD Appropriations bill (HR 3058).
Duckworth has endorsed the elimination of earmarks as part of comprehensive ethics reform, including a ban on lobbyist-paid travel, outlawing the purchase of gifts and meals for members of Congress, and establishing an independent commission to oversee congressional ethics.
The issue of earmarks has emerged as one of the key contrasts between the two candidates in Illinois' 6th district.
Her opponent, personal injury lawyer and state Senator Peter Roskam, has staunchly refused to join her opposition to earmarksdespite the growing evidence of the connection between earmarks and scandals involving lawmakers and lobbyists and their impact on the deficit. In a May interview with MSNBC, Roskam said he would be "unwilling" to give up earmarks. He has made similar comments in multiple interviews.