An aide from Senator Coburn’s (R-Okla.) office has a lengthy post on Instapundit regarding the problem with Congressional pork:
The effect of this process is that high-paid lobbyists who get their project requests inserted at the last minute end up with more power than those who are actually elected to be caretakers of taxpayer dollars. John Fund wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Jack Abramoff “bragged that appropriations committees were ‘earmark favor factories.’” Relatives of elected officials even benefit from their proximity to power. The wife of Tom Daschle was an airline lobbyist while he was Senate Majority Leader, the sons of Minority Leader Harry Reid work as lobbyists in Nevada, and the son of Senator Ted Stevens (a senior member of the Senate appropriations committee) is the chairman of an Alaskan marketing organization that received $500,000 in federal appropriations to paint a salmon on a Boeing 737. The Los Angeles Times reported in June 2003 that “at least 17 senators and 11 members of the House have family members who lobby or work as consultants on government relations, most in Washington and often for clients who rely on the related lawmakers’ goodwill.
Read the whole thing. It’s quite infuriating.
For the record, my Republican senators voted against the Coburn amendment that would have stripped the highway bill of its most egregious pork. Where have you gone, fiscal discipline?