Fiscal Conservatives With A Taste For Pork


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who led the GOP’s debt reduction efforts this summer and bashed stimulus spending, sought money for the stimulus in private letters for projects like high-speed rail.

Freshman Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., a darling of the Tea Party and a has frequently bashed of federal spending on TV, has already written four letters seeking tax dollars for pet projects in his district in his first 10 months on the job.

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, the presidential candidate and libertarian champion, is relentless in calling for the shrinking of government spending while seeking tax dollars for his district from some of the very programs he criticizes.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose presidential campaign is focused on shrinking the size and burden of government, wrote a letter accepting more than $2 billion from the stimulus for his state.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the founder of the Tea Party caucus in Congress and now a presidential contender, sought stimulus money for transportation projects in her distict while criticizing the stimulus as wasteful.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo, who has panned the stimulus as “bailout baloney,” wrote six letters seeking funding for a carbon capture and smart grid projects in his state funded by Obama’s clean energy program. Enzi’s son is working as a consultant on a part of the related project that benefitted from government money.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton sought a loan guarantee for a Russian-backed Michigan company from the same program he is investigating as part of the Solyndra scandal.

House Speaker John Boehner has derided President Obama’s clean energy agenda while pressuring the administration for a clean energy loan guarantee for a uranium project in his home state of Ohio, among other requests for special treatment for specific companies.

House Reform and Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa has questioned the need for the Energy Department’s clean energy efforts while seeking a loan from the program for a home-state electric car company.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy has fashioned the GOP’s assault on Obama spending policies like the stimulus program while writing two letters seeking stimulus money for pet projects in his home state.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 presidential candidate who made patrolling for pork a political pastime, wrote a letter in 2009 offering “condition support” for stimulus money for a sky train project at the Phoenix airport.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, an outspoken critic of the stimulus and a champion of fiscal discipline, wrote letters seeking stimulus money and took credit with his constituents.