Republican congressional candidate Mike Pompeo called on the U.S. Congress to change its appropriations process today, saying that the current earmark system is “full of waste, encourages the expansion of government, and actually harms Americans, including our troops.”
Pompeo, who graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point, referenced a 2008 story involving Army Major Eric Egland who helped uncover misused earmarks that, to quote Major Egland, “cost us lives on the battlefield” (Robert Brodsky, “News+Analysis Earmark Offensive,” Government Executives, October 1, 2008). http://www.govexec.com/story_page_pf.cfm?articleid=41080&printerfriendlyvers=1
“And today, I fear the same thing can happen. The earmark process has become a way for some in congress to pay back contributors. Too often they have designated specific firms to get this funding. It is not done in a competitive manner and does not have the transparency it needs. And too often, these earmarks are secured by taxpayer funding lobbyists, so we the taxpayers are paying on both ends,” Pompeo stated.
“Unfortunately, our defense appropriations bills seem to be the vehicle of choice for too many earmarks. The unscrupulous simply attach these riders to important bills that they know Congressmen will be reluctant to vote against. The system is flawed when a Congressman’s only opportunity to vote in support of vital equipment for our troops includes earmarks or other disruptive legislation,” Pompeo continued.
“I know some in Kansas will frown at me for taking this stand. But the simple fact is that under the earmark system, Kansas is a donor state to the federal government. We are a small state, and as long as decisions are made based on political clout – as is the case with earmarks – we are always going to lose to the likes of California, Texas and New York,” Pompeo stated.
“While my preference would generally be for an overall reduction in taxes, when it does come to the goods and services the federal government needs to purchase, it should be done on a competitive basis. I have every faith that those in Kansas and the Fourth District, if given a chance to fairly compete for federal funding would do extremely well. Worthy projects in our district would withstand public scrutiny,” Pompeo continued.
“We owe it to our children and grandchildren to spend this money responsibly,” Pompeo concluded.