During the Stimulus Legislation debate the Obama administration promised that earmarks would have no place in an emergency spending bill designed to jump start a sagging economy. To no ones surprise billions of “stimulus” funds are finding their way into lawmaker’s favorite pork projects nonetheless. Consider FutureGen:
It became a sort of poster child for fiscal responsibility — a clean-coal power plant in Illinois that was one of then-Sen. Barack Obama’s pet projects.
Democrats insisted they were so serious about keeping pork out of the stimulus bill that it was President Obama himself who blocked the FutureGen project from the massive spending package.
“It shows that we’re serious about it,” Brendan Daly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman, said at the time. “The speaker said it, and the president said it: There will not be earmarks in this bill.”
That was then, this is now:
The Department of Energy on Friday announced that the FutureGen project is on track after all, committing federal stimulus money to advance the project to its next stage. One reason: It was the only shovel-ready project that fits the requirements of the stimulus bill.
Administration officials and the project’s other big backer, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), insist that’s not an earmark at all, as promised — because the stimulus bill doesn’t specifically name the FutureGen project as a recipient of the money.
…The funding is attracting harsh criticism from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who will release a report Tuesday blasting 100 wasteful projects in the federal stimulus spending. The FutureGen project is on his top 10. “FutureGen is the most expensive earmark in history,” Coburn said. “And it is one of the most egregious examples of stimulus dollars being handed out on the basis of politics rather than merit or need.”
This stunt is becoming more and more recognizable as the Obama administration settles into office. They say one thing and do another, confident that that a mesmerized national media will not ask probing questions that may prove embarrassing. Consider for example the Chrysler bankruptcy where the Obama administration laundered a multi billion dollar payoff to their biggest political benefactor through a Chapter 11 reorganization that miraculously handed control of the automaker over to its unions. As noted here and here President Obama is using every political device imaginable to transfer wealth to his allies. The scope of this scheme is staggering and should offend all taxpayers, especially those hit hardest by the worsening recession. This is why an increasing number of voters want the remaining stimulus spending canceled.