Duckworth Calls Latest "Outrageous Earmark" a Real Turkey
Grant to private group in South Carolina gobbles up $234,000 in tax dollars
LOMBARD - Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth today announced the winner of her "Outrageous Earmark of the Week" award: $234,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation in Edgefield, South Carolina. That earmark was included in the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Act (HR 2744).
"Hard-working taxpayers deserve better than having their dollars gobbled up by special projects that are stuffed with pork - or, in this case, poultry," said Duckworth. "Legislators should be forced to go through the regular budget process so these projects can be debated. That way, we'll know if they're really worthwhile - or a turkey!"
The use of earmarks has increased substantially in recent years, now accounting for more than $60 billion in annual spending.
"One of the easiest steps Congress can take to reduce the deficit and reform ethics is to immediately end the practice of earmarking," Duckworth said. "It would show real contempt for the taxpayers if this Congress fails to act on eliminating earmarks and real reform before adjournment."
Duckworth launched the "Outrageous Earmark of the Week" award last week to highlight 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.
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.
Despite numerous challenges from Duckworth, her opponent, personal injury attorney and state Senator Peter Roskam, has refused to join her opposition to earmarks. In a May interview with MSNBC, Roskam said he would be "unwilling" to give up earmarks.