The Lump of Coal Awards
|December 31, 2003||Posted by Staff under The Progress Report|
The Worst of Congress
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
LUMPS OF COAL During the holiday season, many little American girls and boys are reminded that if they’ve been bad they might wake up on Christmas day to find a lump of coal in their stocking. Unfortunately, this rule doesn’t apply to special interests, many of which certainly haven’t been good for goodness sake.
This week, the watchdogs here at Taxpayers for Common Sense put on a stocking cap and beard and have been sniffing through all of the past year’s legislation for special interest giveaways that lawmakers have tried to push through the Congress. Today we bring you our first ever list of recipients of our Lumps of Coal Awards. They go to efforts by corporations or individuals to raid the federal treasury or to rip off taxpayers.
Even though they were not successful, the winner of the biggest lump of coal is Boeing Co. for its efforts to secure a $29 billion contract to lease 100 refueling tankers to the Air Force. Not only would this have been one of the biggest corporate welfare giveaways in the history of our nation, it was a classic case of political malfeasance in Washington. Darlene Druyun, the former Air Force official who took a top job at Boeing immediately after negotiating the deal on the Air Force’s behalf, would share the prestigious prize.
Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) deserve of our coal “accolades” for their misuse of the political process to pile the pork onto this year’s energy bill. Before they got their hands on the bill its total cost was about $61 billion. When they were finished with it, the price had skyrocketed to a whopping $96 billion. This bill was powered by pork, with almost every special interest in Washington getting a piece of the action.
Coal kudos should also go out to Donald Rumsfeld and the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Andrew Nastios for their efforts in drastically downplaying the costs of the Iraq War and Reconstruction. Ad nauseam, Rumsfeld ridiculed anyone who tried to come up with estimates on the real costs of the war (many of which were strikingly on target) and Nastios claimed earlier this year that U.S. taxpayers would not have to pay more than $1.7 billion to reconstruct Iraq. The price tag of the two Iraq spending bills brings the current tab to $166 billion and we are still counting.
Hummer Dealerships are awarded for their misguided advertising choices. They exploited a loophole in the tax code that allows small businesses to deduct almost the full cost of a $110,000 H1 Hummer. This has led to Hummers flying off dealership lots at the expense of taxpayers.
Retiring Sen. John Breaux (R-LA) wins a double lump of coal for topping the list of unrepentant, over the top pork barrelers in Washington. Oil & Gas subsidies, Medicare, you name it, whenever the Senator had a chance to help special interests rip us off, he took advantage of it. Breaux narrowly edges out Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN), who was quoted this month saying “No One enjoys pork more than I do.”
The good news is that many of the actions that won these folks lumps of coal were stopped dead in their tracks. The bad news is that many of them will continue trying to rip us off in the New Year. While the rest of us resolve to eat better and exercise more, perhaps these folks will promise to stop trying to rip off the American people. How’s that for a New Year’s resolution?
For more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
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