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Duckworth: The Need For Ending Earmarks Is "Crystal Clear"

Location: Lombard, IL

Duckworth: The Need For Ending Earmarks Is "Crystal Clear"

$550,000 for the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington earns Duckworth's "Outrageous Earmark of the Week" award

Sixth District Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth today announced the winner of her "Outrageous Earmark of the Week" award: $550,000 for the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, which was in the FY 2006 Transportation/Treasury/HUD Appropriations bill (HR 3058).

"A museum of glass is a perfect place for Members of Congress to go and take a long look in the mirror," said Duckworth. "There, they can reflect on the fact that their failure to control spending is driving our deficit up, increasing our debt and leaving the American taxpayers paying the tab for years to come."

Duckworth also leveled criticism at her opponent, personal injury lawyer Peter Roskam, whose statements on the issue of earmarks makes it "transparent" that he would be among those politicians who approve spending taxpayer dollars on Tacoma's museum of glass and similar pork-barrel projects (Roskam defends federal pork support, Daily Herald, 8/22/2006).

"Fortunately, the people of the Sixth district can see right through Peter Roskam's stance on earmarks," said Duckworth. "He tries to call himself fiscally responsible, yet he supports the earmarking process that allows billions in wasteful spending annually and opens to the door to scandal and corruption in Washington."

As Duckworth has pointed out throughout the campaign, the use of earmarks has increased substantially in recent years, now accounting for more than $60 billion in annual spending.

This week, Roskam was asked to defend his own advocacy of dubious pork-barrel projects while serving in the state Senate. Roskam was forced to admit that he had been the lead sponsor of a project that used Illinois taxpayers' dollars to help offenders work through their problems through art therapy. The Daily Herald reported earlier that the project was for "a creative therapy program in which criminals on probation use their artistic talent to work through problems." (5/13/2002)

"I'm proud to stand with Senator John McCain and other reformers who see the situation clearly and want to bring the budget under control by eliminating the earmark scam," Duckworth said. "I would not support a broken process that helps Members of Congress make backroom deals with lobbyists to get spending projects shoved in large budget bills. That is not the way I would represent the hardworking taxpayers in this District."

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. Winners have included:

* $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina (2006 Transportation/Treasury/HUD Appropriations bill; HR 3058);
* $234,000 for the National Wild Turkey Federation in Edgefield, South Carolina (2006 Agriculture Appropriations Act; HR 2744);
* $950,000 for a parking facility at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska (FY 2006 Transportation/Treasury/HUD Appropriations bill; HR 3058);
* $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)

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.

Daily Herald

Roskam defends federal pork support

By Eric Krol, Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Republican congressional hopeful Peter Roskam, who's always billed himself as a fiscal conservative, tried to walk a political tightrope Monday by embracing an oft-criticized budget tactic for securing federal funding for local projects.

The 6th Congressional District GOP nominee said he'd support continuing the so-called practice of "earmarks" if elected to Congress to make sure projects like fixing the dangerous railroad crossing at Irving Park and Wood Dale roads continue to get funded.

"I don't think we should leave it to a bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., who's in a gray building and goes to sleep in the suburbs of Virginia every night and has never been to Wood Dale making fundamental decisions about the life and health and safety of Wood Dale," said Roskam at Wood Dale city hall.

Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth has vowed to end earmarks, calling the practice wasteful and corrupt in an era of record budget deficits. Duckworth's campaign, which puts out a news release every week highlighting pork projects, criticized Roskam.

"He'll continue more of the same in Congress," Duckworth spokeswoman Christine Glunz said. "He's trying to defend himself on an issue he's clearly weak on."

When asked how Duckworth would bring home the proverbial bacon for the 6th District, Glunz said projects like the railroad crossing would get funded on merit.

Roskam said he would back a change to make earmarks more transparent, requiring the sponsoring congressman's name to be listed.

The Wood Dale intersection has had 128 crashes in three years, making it the most accident-prone railroad crossing in Illinois. Retiring Congressman Henry Hyde has secured $11 million to create an underpass, but the project costs $65 million, officials said.

Physician Lanny Wilson, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Lauren in a 1994 accident at a Hinsdale crossing when his son tried to outrun a train by going around the crossing gates, said it's crucial the project be completed.

In other 6th District race news, the National Republican Campaign Committee recently reserved $2.3 million worth of TV ad time for the final weeks before the Nov. 7 election. The move matches an earlier Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reservation of $2.3 million of campaign time. If history holds, both parties will spend that money to air negative attack ads about the other party's candidate.

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