Today I introduced an amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations bill that would strip taxpayer funding for the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission in Illinois designated for "minority and small business development and procurement opportunities”. Now I find nothing wrong with minority and small business development; I’m a businessman myself. My problem with this earmark is that Abraham Lincoln National Airport doesn’t exist. There are no long lines, crowded terminals, or delayed flights at this airport. There’s not a single passenger there. The truth is, Abraham Lincoln National Airport only exists in concept which has been developed by Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. – who requested the $231,000 for this project.
Here are some facts that you may find interesting:
? The Executive Director for the Airport Commission is Richard Bryant, who also happens to be the Deputy District Administrator for Jackson’s Congressional office.
? Congressman Jackson was the main catalyst behind forming the Airport Commission.
? From a 4/13/06 press release from Congressman Jackson's own campaign, the Airport commission "plans to launch an advertising campaign urging (Illinois) Gov. Rod Blagojevich to lease it the land the state is acquiring for the airfield." From the same press release, "So far, the commission has raised about $100,000, said Jackson aide Rick Bryant, the commission's executive director."
? Later that same year, on November 16, 2006, Congressman Jackson issued a press release from his official office where he promised to not seek federal funding for the airport. “So even with the change of leadership in Congress, I won’t pursue federal funding for the Abraham Lincoln National Airport. Chicago’s share of federal dollars is already committed to O’Hare modernization.”
Congressman Jackson’s request for $231,000 for this non-existent airport, to a commission managed by one of his top congressional staffers that so far has only commissioned an advertising/lobbying campaign, only months after Congressman Jackson himself promised to not request federal funds for this commission, are all reason's why I introduced this amendment to remove these taxpayer provided funds from the Financial Services Appropriations bill. There are some very important questions that Congressman Jackson’s constituents and all taxpayers deserve answered.