On the merits of fear as a motivator.

In case you were wondering whether anything that we do has any effect at all, let me remind you: stopping bad things from happening is a meritorious act, too. Case in point?  The ban on earmarks. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid really, really wants that ban overturned: problem is, Speaker John Boehner refuses to consider it. And there’s no love there in the Senate, either:

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who would be in line to lead the Senate if Republicans win control of the chamber in November, is opposed to restoring earmarks, a spokesman said. Asked whether Mr. McConnell agreed with Mr. Reid that it was time to rethink the ban, his spokesman flatly said, “No.”

It is my professional opinion that Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell’s principled stance on this is very much informed by a perfectly-logical reluctance to walk into spinning buzz-saws.  And do you know something? I’m fine with that.  Because listen to your Uncle Milton: Continue reading On the merits of fear as a motivator.

Reid not happy about Obama’s earmark ban pledge.

I don’t know why he’s bothering to yell at the President over this, though: the question of whether Harry Reid has the ability to get earmarks passed into legislation was abruptly settled last November.  The House has banned them, and in case anybody was wondering whether the Republican base considers that ban to encompass the conference process where the differences between the Senate and House versions of a bill are resolved, let me clear that up: the Republican base does so consider it.

And the Republican base will get very, very loud if it even looks like the House GOP is wavering on this issue – which, I hasten to add, it does not currently appear that they are doing.  I fully expect them to stay fully righteous on earmarks, in fact. But it’s just best that everything be put on the table, all spelled out and everything, just so that there are no unfortunate misunderstandings later.  I’m sure that we all want to avoid unfortunate misunderstandings, don’t we?

Via @amandacarpenter.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

Alexi Giannoulias watching his dirty lobbyist money diet.

He wants only free-range dirty lobbyist money, apparently. None of this factory-grown, federal dirty lobbyist money for him:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias says he’s swearing off campaign contributions from lobbyists, but not all lobbyists.

Giannoulias, the state treasurer, promised at the start of his Senate campaign a year ago that he wouldn’t take contributions from corporate lobbyists or political action committees. But that proscription applies only to federal lobbyists and PACs. He has taken money from state-registered lobbyists. He says there’s a difference: Since he’s running for a federal office, a state lobbyist can’t try to influence him if he wins.

Riiiiiiiiight. So, the following scenario? Continue reading Alexi Giannoulias watching his dirty lobbyist money diet.

PMA trying to retain lease on PA-12?

In the course of noting that former Murtha crony Mark Critz received 52% of his first-quarter contributions from “[d]efense contractors, local business officers and lobbyists that relied on earmarked federal contracts from Murtha” the Washington Post notes this interesting little detail:

Four former lobbyists of the PMA Group, a once-powerful lobbying shop, also chipped in to elect Critz. Murtha arranged for his spending panel to steer hundreds of millions of earmarked contracts to PMA clients. The firm shut its doors amid a criminal investigation scrutinizing more than $1 million dollars in campaign contributions it gave to Murtha and other subcommittee members. Critz’s money came as well from top officers of companies that were longtime beneficiaries of Murtha’s largess in doling out military contracts: Argon ST, Progeny Systems, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Advanced Acoustic Concepts and Mountaintop Technologies.

Ah, PMA.  Did you know that they got $117 million in earmarks from the Democrats in the last ten years?  Impressive, in its way.

Continue reading PMA trying to retain lease on PA-12?

FINALLY: House GOP swears off earmarks.

Across the board, and no exceptions.

House Republicans approved a conference-wide moratorium on earmarks on Thursday, one day after a House committee enacted a ban on for-profit earmarks.

The Republicans’ moratorium is more extensive than the House Appropriations Committee’s ban in that it applies to all earmarks for all members of the caucus.

(Via Instapundit) Rep. Pence calls it a ‘clean break,’ which it is: I forget who out there has noted that this has been at least partially brought about by it being an election year. Which is fine by me; fear of the consequences of ticking off the voters is a perfectly good motivational tool for keeping legislators in line, as the upcoming Congressional elections are going to demonstrate. There’s going to be a goodly number of Democratic object lessons Congressmen who are going to wish that they had trusted their instincts in that regard, in fact. Continue reading FINALLY: House GOP swears off earmarks.

Jack Murtha (D): INCOMPETENT Earmarker?

I mean, it’s bad enough that he’s doing it: but apparently it’s not even working.

In 2005, Rep. John P. Murtha announced here that a technology firm was moving into an abandoned plate glass factory. Best of all, he promised, the new firm would generate 140 jobs.

The Pennsylvania Democrat steered $150 million in defense money to Caracal Inc., along with a $3 million grant for factory renovations. “Today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony is yet another indication that our investment in this region’s economic revitalization is paying off,” he said that day. But Caracal never created the jobs the congressman touted. The firm peaked at 10 employees and then folded in early 2008. Once its Murtha-engineered Navy contracts ended, the company could not survive.

The article goes on to note that Rep. Murtha’s earmarks aren’t generating jobs for either the companies that he’s supposedly fostering via earmarking (over 60% have seriously underperformed) or his district (unemployment rates seem to have not been affected by Murtha’s pork habits at all): there’s also a lengthy section where specific firms are discussed in terms of Murtha’s… well, ‘litany of failure’ works as a description.  Clearly the man is off of his game; if this was a post about an athlete I’d be counseling voluntary retirement, while he still had his dignity.  As he’s a legislator taking my tax money to enrich his cronies and lackeys: scratch out ‘voluntary.’

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.

Meet Representative Alan Grayson (D, FL-08).

[UPDATE]: Welcome, Instapundit readers. Have you seen the latest from Grassley on the IG firings?

He has difficulty keeping his hands to himself.


I’ve read the Constitution several times, but I’ve never seen the part that says that elected officials are allowed to physically assault people who’d like to ask questions. Like, say, about his questionable earmark habits:

Congressman Alan Grayson has had a close relationship with the civil rights group for which he tried to get hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. As WDBO first reported, the freshman Representative requested $350,000 for the Florida Civil Rights Association, despite its history of controversy, and being run by a man the state says is not trustworthy enough to be a bail bondsman.
(H/T: the NRCC)

Finding the constraints demanded by the dignity of the office too much to bear, Rep. Grayson? Because that’s easily fixed.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.

Jack Murtha (D, PA-12) Claims Constitutional right to trade earmarks for donations.

The phrase ‘bawling like a stuck calf’ comes to mind, for some reason.

Okinawa Jack seems very, very defensive in this article (H/T: Instapundit):

Murtha defends statement

The region’s outspoken congressman is in the national lens again – this time CBS News television cameras – in a report Wednesday that calls him “the king of earmarks who wastes a lot of taxpayer money” and implies that the FBI is investigating.

U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, responded by waving the Constitution at the camera, saying: “What it says is the Congress of the United States appropriates the money. Got that?”

The CBS article in question is here, along with video footage that Murtha is going to regret. You can say and do things to, say, a private citizen with a video camera that you can’t do to a national news organization, and he made no friends in CBS with that antic. As can be seen with the next couple of paragraphs:
Continue reading Jack Murtha (D, PA-12) Claims Constitutional right to trade earmarks for donations.

PMA head used family members to pay off Democrat appropriators.

I’m not a federal prosecutor. That means that I don’t have to bend over backward to avoid making what is really a fairly obvious statement. Via Instapundit:

PMA Lobbyist, Relatives Gave Lawmakers $1.5 Million Since 2000

A defense lobbyist and his family made $1.5 million in political contributions from 2000 through 2008 as the lobbyist’s now-embattled firm helped clients win billions of dollars in federal contracts. A sizable chunk of those campaign dollars went to the House members who control Pentagon spending.

Paul Magliocchetti, founder of the PMA Group, and nine of his relatives — two children, his daughter-in-law, his current wife, his ex-wife and his ex-wife’s parents, sister and brother-in-law — poured contributions into the coffers of candidates, political action committees and national and state party committees, according to a CQ review of public documents.

Continue reading PMA head used family members to pay off Democrat appropriators.