The Flake Fight

Mary Katharine Ham
|
Posted: May 25, 2006 9:32 AM

It continued, last night, on the Energy and Water Approps bill, on which Flake offered six amendments for cutting earmarks.

One of the amendments was to defund a project for Rep. Alan Mollohan, who is under investigation for using his position to send earmarks his friends' and family's way. The amendment was defeated.

Americans for Prosperity has the earmark descriptions and vote results.

The NYT reports on the Flake Fight today.

Though they failed to kill earmarked projects on the House floor, fiscal conservatives said they were pleased to have forced the sponsors into the open. Representative Tom Latham, Republican of Iowa, defended dairy education. Representative Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio, fought for the tomato money as a way to "keep agriculture alive." And Representative Mike Thompson, Democrat of California, said his earmark would highlight the health benefits of wine.

It's about shining light. Even if the American people decide they want Congress spending money on this stuff, Congress should have to tell them they're doing it and explain why. This comment from Republican Rep. Bonilla is priceless:

"We have one of our former members in jail right now for basically selling earmarks," Mr. Flake said. "He was able to get his earmarks through the legislative process without being challenged. Jack Abramoff reportedly referred to the Appropriations Committee as an 'earmark favor factory.' "

Mr. Bonilla said it was "really bad form" for Mr. Flake to mention the scandals on the House floor.

I can almost see him with his fingers in his ears, singing over Flake's words.

UPDATE: I would not be surprised at all to find that this project got federal funding in the ag bill. That's how bad things are.