Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia caused a bit of a stir last week when he said on CSPAN's Washington Journal program that, as paraphrased by Daniel Strauss at The Hill, "lawmakers are getting around the new ban on earmarks by convincing Obama administration officials to fund their pet projects."
Those who have followed Moran's less than illustrious career recall something he said in 2006 that makes his determination to make earmarks happen by any means necessary not at all unexpected.
In June of that year, Scott McAffrey at Northern Virginia's Sun Gazette reported on Moran's intentions if the Demcrats were to win a Congressional majority the following November (one example of R-rated language follows):
Moran: Democratic Majority Means More Money for 8th District
If Democrats win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran said he would use his position in the majority to help funnel more funds to his Northern Virginia district.
Moran, D-8th, told those attending the Arlington County Democratic Committee's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner on June 9 that while he in theory might oppose the fiscal irresponsibility of “earmarks” - funneling money to projects in a member of Congress's district - he understands the value they have to constituents.
“When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I'm going to earmark the shit out of it,” Moran buoyantly told a crowd of 450 attending the event.
Colorful language and campaign hyperbole aside, Moran has a lot to gain if Democrats topple the GOP's 12-year control of the House. His relative seniority of eight terms would make him a powerful member of any Democratic majority.
In early 2009, the Favor Factory section at the Seattle Times reported that Moran had kept his expletive-contaning promise, obtaining $40.6 million in earmarks in 2008, while receiving $890,000 in campaign contributions from the beneficiaries of those earmarks during the previous five years.
Thus, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Moran would openly boast of getting earmarks achieved in the underhanded manner described above. I thought that the Executive Branch was supposed to tell bureaucrats how to carry out their assigned duties. Silly me.
It also shouldn't surprise anyone that Moran's potentially controversial comment received virtually no coverage other than at the Sun Gazette in 2006, or anywhere else since then. A Republican making a similar comment would have caught a great deal more flak for such an utterance, and would still be hearing about it to this day.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.