Something about pots calling kettles something comes to mind here…
Sen. Christopher S. Bond regularly railed against President Obama’s economic stimulus plan as irresponsible spending that would drive up the national debt. But behind the scenes, the Missouri Republican quietly sought more than $50 million from a federal agency for two projects in his state.
Mr. Bond was not alone. More than a dozen Republican lawmakers, while denouncing the stimulus to the media and their constituents, privately sent letters to just one of the federal government’s many agencies seeking stimulus money for home-state pork projects.
The letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, expose the gulf between lawmakers’ public criticism of the overall stimulus package and their private lobbying for projects close to home.
“It’s not illegal to talk out of both sides of your mouth, but it does seem to be a level of dishonesty troubling to the American public,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Some in the GOP are working to steer money to their home states in a backhanded manner:
But the USDA letters also reveal a more discreet way for lawmakers to try to steer money to home-state projects.
Several Republicans who sent letters to the USDA for home-state projects seeking an infusion of stimulus cash are facing competitive re-election races.
Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican who became famous after yelling, “You lie,” during Mr. Obama’s addresses to Congress in September, voted against the stimulus. Nonetheless, Mr. Wilson elbowed his way into the rush for federal stimulus cash in a letter he sent to Mr. Vilsack on behalf of a foundation seeking funding.
“We know their endeavor will provide jobs and investment in one of the poorer sections of the Congressional District,” he wrote to Mr. Vilsack in the Aug. 26, 2009, letter.
So Joe “You lie!” Wilson knows the Democrats are on the right track, that their efforts will provide jobs. And that would be especially nice for Mr. Wilson around election time.