The Jake Files

April 9, 2006

Culture of Corruption

I found this article in the NYT (hat tip Instapundit):

As lawmakers have increasingly slipped pet projects into federal spending bills over the past decade, one lawmaker has used his powerful perch on the House Appropriations Committee to funnel $250 million into five nonprofit organizations that he set up.

Those actions have prompted a complaint to federal prosecutors that questions whether any of that taxpayer money helped fuel a parallel growth in his personal fortune.

The most ambitious effort by the congressman, Alan B. Mollohan, is a glistening glass-and-steel structure with a swimming pool, sauna and spa rising in a former cow pasture in Fairmont, W.Va., thanks to $103 million of taxpayer money he garnered through special spending allocations known as earmarks.

This is an obscene twisting of the already out-of-control practice of earmarking funds that, if it's as bad as it sounds, should land this guy in jail.  But it won't, because we'll never hear much more of this in the mainstream media.  Mollohan, is by the way, a Democrat.  Which would make the whole Democratic "culture of corruption" screed against the Republicans an inconvenient inconsistency. 

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February 21, 2006

President Promises Veto if UAE Ports Deal Blocked by Congress

From the AP

“After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward,” Bush told reporters who had traveled with him on Air Force One to Washington. “I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We’ll treat you fairly.'”

Bush took the rare step of calling reporters to his conference room on the plane after returning from a speech in Colorado, addressing a controversy that is becoming a major headache for the White House. He said the seaports arrangement had been extensively examined by the administration and was “a legitimate deal that will not jeopardize the security of the country.”

I find this development highly disturbing.

In five years, President Bush has not vetoed a single bill.  Not a spending bill authorizing a several-hundred million dollar Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska.  Not one.  Not anything.

Now he threatens to protect a deal with a company OWNED BY the United Arab Emirates, a known haven of terrorists?  This is not the time to play nice with our allies in Arab countries that support the War on Terror.  I fully understand the political consequences of halting a sale to an ally that is providing active assistance in our terrorism fight.  I don’t understand why the White House doesn’t understand the political consequences of appearing to give an opening to those who want to kill us.

I can imagine a scenario in which Al Qaeda operatives gain access to the country through this company.  There may well be safeguards in place to prevent it, but the White House has not explained what they are.  The White House has not explained why this is a good deal for national security.  The White House has not explained why it will NOT be possible for a terrorist to use this company as a gateway to operating against us.  And until they do, I think the President has a serious problem.

Really, the President’s going to go to the mattresses over protecting a company from the Mideast when he won’t secure our borders or veto outrageous spending bills?  Is this a joke?

UPDATE:  Hugh Hewitt interviewed Senator Frist today on Hugh’s radio show, and indicated an override of the promised veto is possible.  This is a potentially embarrassing and damaging development for the President, and he needs to get on the right side of this issue in a hurry.  Based on this story, it doesn’t seem likely.  Duane has a transcript of Hugh’s interview here

February 9, 2006

John McCain – Porkbuster

Filed under: Arizona,Conservative,Politics,Porkbusters — Amazing Jake @ 11:06 pm

John McCain is using his reform credentials to get out in front on the earmark issue in Congress.  According to the AP, via ABC News

WASHINGTON Feb 9, 2006 (AP)— Ten senators led by Sen. John McCain took on the Senate’s much maligned practice of inserting individual members’ special projects, often without the knowledge of their colleagues, into larger spending bills.

The “Pork-Barrel Reduction Act,” introduced Thursday by eight Republicans and two Democrats, is the latest in a rash of proposals promoting ways to restore integrity to the political process in the wake of lobbying and ethics scandals.

It’s been a while since there’s been a John McCain proposal I’ve been for.  It’s about time.

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