Roger L. Simon

The Omnibus Bill's 'Hit Parade' of Senatorial Theft

Thanks to the perspicacious Jamie Dupree, the 1,924 page Omnibus Budget Bill has revealed a “hit parade of senatorial malfeasance.” It’s a long list but, for your convenience, here are the Top Twenty “Earmarkers” in the Senate:

  • Cochran (R-MS) 230
  • Wicker (R-MS) 199
  • Murray (D-WA) 172
  • Harkin (D-IA) 152
  • Reid (D-NV) 129
  • Menendez (D-NJ) 123
  • Feinstein (D-CA) 121
  • Lautenberg (D-NJ) 120
  • Lincoln (D-AR) 114
  • Inouye (D-HI) 113
  • Schumer (D-NY) 106
  • Johnson (D-SD) 105
  • Landrieu (D-LA) 104
  • Specter (D-PA) 103
  • Pryor (D-AR) 96
  • Levin (D-MI) 93
  • Stabenow (D-MI) 91
  • Boxer (D-CA) 90
  • Brown (D-OH) 87
  • Grassley (R-IA) 86

How bad are these legislators? Pretty bad, I would say. I think there is actually an argument for calling them criminals. After all, what are they attempting to do? They are taking the American taxpayers’ money — your money — and distributing it in near complete secrecy, with virtually no discussion and as quickly as possible, to their friends, supporters, pet projects, etc.

That sounds like theft to me. At the very least, it’s a form of Congressional Money-laundering.

But what do I know? I’m not a lawyer.

Are there any heroes in all this? Well, it’s clear the Republicans are somewhat less likely to engage in this execrable activity, though the top Two on the Hit Parade are Republicans from Mississippi (Cochran and Wicker).

Speaking of which, the size of the state does not always correlate with the number of potential earmarks. It’s no surprise that my home state senators — Feinstein and Boxer — have loads of friends and pet projects to reward. Besides being the most populous state, California operates these days with a certain (and evidently growing) level of corruption. But little Iowa? Grassley squeaks in at number twenty — and there at number four is Tom Harkin. Well, on second thought, we shouldn’t be surprised. A man who lies about his military service should be more than willing to shove a hundred or so hidden expenditures down the throat of the American public at a time of economic crisis. What a creep.

Also high on the earmark Creep Parade — Arlen “On My Way Out” Specter and Carl “I’m so Liberal and Righteous” Levin. Washington’s Patty Murray, who just got reelected by a whisker, is at number three, assuring her home state supporters she knows where her bread is buttered. These people have no shame, obviously, nor does the President of the United States, who himself promised an end to earmarks and is now backing this massive theft from the American people. (And Clinton was impeached for lying about sex!)

But, yes, there is a hero in all this and his name, ironically and to the astonishment of some conservatives, is John McCain. He, above all the men and women in the US Senate, is walking the walk and talking the talk in opposition to this horrific bill and to earmarks.