Despite claims by Democrats that the earmark process has been reformed, pet projects are still easily slipped into bills with minimal, if any, oversight.
Today, an article in the Washington Post highlighted that House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (D-MD), inserted an earmark worth $450,000 into the 2008 education spending bill. The earmark was intended to go to the California based “InTune Foundation Group”, a music-education nonprofit group.
This isn’t the first earmark InTune has received; in 2005 it received $500,000 to develop lesson plans on funk music and Nobel Peace laureates. Although, it was required to submit a report on the effectiveness of the program, InTune never did. In fact when the Department of Education tried to contact them, their phone was disconnected and the email address was out of service.
In 2005 earmark, InTune stated that it would use some of the money to hire an educator, Joan Kozlovsky, to assess the program in 2005 and 2006. However, according to Kozlovsky, she hasn’t heard from the nonprofit group in years.
In the face of failed evaluations and lack of compliance, Mr. Hoyer still felt it prudent to earmark an additional $450,000 of taxpayer funds to InTune.
Not surprisingly, Maillard, current and past InTune employees have contributed at least $31,000 to Hoyer’s political action committee from 2004 to 2006.
This is outrageous, and taxpayers deserve better. I have consistently made the argument that the connection between earmarks and contributions is widespread and ripe for abuse, this is just the latest example.
Is the earmark process reformed? You be the judge.