I supposed that its ironic that some of the war on terror’s most vocal critics are some of the most skillful practitioners of Congressional pork barreling. John Murhta is an award winner, but so is much of the New York Delegation. Charlie Rangel, who believes that our heroes should come home so the fund could be used for social programs, directed almost TWO MILLION Dollars for a City College project named after Charlie Rangel. And there is much more, You would think that the state animal of New York is the pig:
Rangel Earns a ‘Narcissist Award’ From Pork Barrel Critics Jazz at Lincoln Center Also Singled Out By RUSSELL BERMAN, STAFF REPORTER OF THE SUN | April 3, 2008 WASHINGTON — Lawmakers from New York have secured more than $320 million in pet projects for the state during the current fiscal year, including several million for initiatives that a government watchdog group is deriding as nothing more than “pork.The projects, including nearly $5 million in defense dollars for a Jamaica Bay recreation area and $390,000 for Jazz at Lincoln Center, were among dozens singled out as questionable by Citizens Against Government Waste. In its annual “Pig Book,” a report compiling thousands of so-called pork-barrel spending projects, the group gave a “Narcissist Award” to the head of the state delegation, Rep. Charles Rangel of Harlem, for the nearly $2 million he steered toward a City College center in his own name. According to the report, Congress doled out 11,610 projects known as earmarks for 2008 worth $17.2 billion. The number of initiatives tripled from 2007, with the dollar amount rising 30%. The increase came despite efforts by leaders in both parties to curtail earmarks, which have drawn widespread criticism because they are often inserted into spending bills with little or no oversight or debate. The total funding brought home by local lawmakers was actually low when compared with nationwide figures; New York State ranked second to last in per capita funding, the report found. Alaska topped the list, while Arizona rounded out the bottom. Local lawmakers largely defended the funds they secured for their districts and said the report was misleading. The report chastised Rep. Jose Serrano of the Bronx for directing $150,000 in homeland security funds to the Citizens Advice Bureau, a community development organization. “This has nothing to do with protecting the country from natural disasters or the threat of terrorism,” the report stated. Mr. Serrano’s office said the report failed to mention that the Department of Homeland Security now includes the Citizenship and Immigration Services, and that the money set aside for the Citizens Advice Bureau was targeted to immigrants. “I stand by the value of all my earmarks,” Mr. Serrano said, including those spotlighted by Citizens Against Government Waste. “I cannot think of a better way to help Bronx immigrants navigate the often confusing and complex system to become citizens.” The Citizens Advice Bureau also defended its funding, saying that without federal support, “it would lack the capacity to provide assistance to scores of immigrants annually.” The report took on Mr. Rangel for what it termed his “Monument to Me” — a $1.95 million earmark to establish the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College. The group awarded him its “Narcissist Award,” one of 14 tongue-in-cheek “Oinker” honors in recognition of “dogged perseverance in mad pursuit of pork.” While Mr. Rangel in the past has defended steering funds to a center in his name, he declined to comment through a spokesman yesterday. City College released a statement in his defense. “We are proud that Congressman Rangel, one of America’s most distinguished public servants, who has served our community and this country with honor for his entire life, is supporting this initiative and has allowed us to name it in his honor,” the statement said. The college also noted that an overwhelming majority of the center’s funding will come from private sources and that it has raised more than $11 million toward a goal of $30 million. The report questioned $4.8 million for the Department of Defense requested by Rep. Anthony Weiner for the Jamaica Bay unit of the National Recreation Area. Mr. Weiner said the money was actually a small part of a much larger project to repair Floyd Bennett Field, the historic airfield that was in poor condition when the military transferred it to the National Park Service. The group also suggested Jazz at Lincoln Center could pay for itself and did not need nearly $400,000 in taxpayer dollars. One of its sponsors, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, stood by the funding, saying the program was one of the city’s “greatest cultural institutions.” Of House members from the city, Rep. Joseph Crowley of Queens and the Bronx secured the most money, with just under $30 million. The city delegation’s lone Republican, Rep. Vito Fossella of Staten Island and Brooklyn, requested no earmarks at all. “The system has been abused for many years and I thought it was important to send a signal that enough was enough by not making earmark requests last year,” Mr. Fossella said in a statement. Among the three major presidential contenders, Senator Clinton secured by far the most earmarks — 281, totaling $296.2 million, according to the report. That was more than three times as much as her Democratic rival, Senator Obama, who secured 53 earmarks worth $97.4 million. The presumptive Republican nominee, Senator McCain, requested no earmarks, having made ending the practice a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.