Republican hypocrisy watch: stimulus money edition

The conservative Washington Times newspaper noticed yesterday that some vocal opponents of last year's stimulus bill haven't been walking the walk:

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers, while denouncing the stimulus to the media and their constituents, privately sent letters to just one of the federal government's many agencies seeking stimulus money for home-state pork projects.

The letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, expose the gulf between lawmakers' public criticism of the overall stimulus package and their private lobbying for projects close to home.

"It's not illegal to talk out of both sides of your mouth, but it does seem to be a level of dishonesty troubling to the American public," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The Washington Times learned that Iowa's senior Senator Chuck Grassley

was yet another lawmaker who voted against the stimulus and later backed applications for stimulus money in two letters to the Agriculture Department.

"If the funds are there, Senator Grassleys going to help Iowa, rather than some other state, get its share," spokeswoman Jill Kozeny said.

Iowa Democratic Party chair Michael Kiernan commented in a statement, "Someone needs to tell Chuck Grassley that you can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't vote against something and then take credit for the funds coming to Iowa."

Sure he can, and he'll keep doing that until Iowa journalists report that Grassley was against the spending before he was for it.

Longtime Bleeding Heartland readers may recall that Representatives Tom Latham (IA-04) and Steve King (IA-05) have played this game too. Last March, Latham bragged about earmarks he inserted in the 2009 omnibus spending bill he voted against. King sought out favorable publicity for stimulus money allocated to widen U.S. Highway 20 in northwest Iowa, even though he voted against the stimulus bill. Those actions earned King and Latham spots on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Hypocrisy Hall of Fame." It's not an exclusive club, though: 71 House Republicans have already been inducted.

  • What's the big deal?

    They voted against the money.  It's there now, so they want their constituents to get access to it.  While it would be nice if reporting on these things would note that the legislators voted against the original source of funds, it just seems ridiculous to me to blame them for going after a big pot of money like everyone else.  Overall spending will be exactly the same no matter what they do now.

    • that would be fine

      if they weren't still publicly bashing the stimulus bill as worthless. They should admit that these funds are doing good things in their states/districts.  

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