Pork

The Tangled Pork Web of Rep. Hal Rogers

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April 26, 2011
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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington went medieval on KY’s 5th District Rep. Hal Rogers this morning, releasing a 27-page report (PDF) on the epic web of pork, federal spending and organizations that Hal Rogers has built over the last two decades.

How epic is the web? Check it:

Any new stuff in this report? Politico pulls out the eyebrow raiser:

Another nonprofit, the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp., has ties to nearly all the other Rogers’ related groups. Founded in 1968 and backed by tens of millions in federal funds over the last several decades, KHIC now owns more than a dozen for-profit companies and a real-estate firm. While it claims many successes, KHIC has also had some notable failures. For instance, one KHIC-backed firm, Mid-South Electronics, won a $15 million contract in 2005 thanks to Rogers but later moved most of its operations to Mexico.

Jerry Rickett, president and CEO of KHIC, has held other positions at Rogers-tied nonprofit groups, and other KHIC official, Ray Moncrief, has given $16,000 to Rogers’ reelection campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission records.

In one previously undisclosed incident, Rogers directly intervened in helping boost a Small Business Administration disaster loan for a marina owner who is also a donor to Rogers’ congressional campaign, according to documents obtained by CREW.

*****

Hamilton’s company, Lee Ford’s Resort Marina, in Rogers’ district, received a $1.5 million loan from SBA after the Army Corps of Engineers lowered the water level on Lake Cumberland in 2007 in order to help save a failing dam. Hamilton has complained the lower water level hurts his business.

With Rogers’ help – including a letter to SBA last July – Hamilton was able to hold a meeting with SBA officials in Rogers’ office last year. SBA then gave an additional $2.5 million loan to Hamilton’s company, and redesignated the firm as a “major employer” in the region.

But we must remember that Hal Rogers is a changed Ham, and is no longer going to do this stuff anymore….

Hal Rogers is a Changed Ham

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March 5, 2011
By

Halimah Abdullah in this morning’s Herald profiles the new and impr… well, House Appropriations Chieftain Hal Rogers:

Widely known for steering federal dollars to projects in his district, the Somerset Republican and House Appropriations Committee chairman is now helping lead GOP efforts to trim fat from the federal budget.

It’s a charming transformation for a man previously known as “The Prince of Pork” and who, by his own staff’s estimation, between 1999 and 2005 alone managed to steer $2.4 Billion to his home district (after that, they lost count).

For a man who’s begged for ObamaBucks under the Stalinistic National Socialism of Maoist ObamaCare he’s simultaneously trying to destroy, and who has been attacked by his fellow conservatives at National Review (they called him “a national disgrace“) for siphoning off needed Homeland Security dollars… this change is remarkable.

Consider another Halimah Abdullah profile of Rogers, this one from 2009, which examines the crooked Congressman’s budget requests:

There are 103 requests totaling $466.6 million on Rogers’ 22-page request form, which is buried several pages deep on his Web site.

Those requests include roughly $40 million for programs that Rogers created or that are housed in Rogers’ hometown of Somerset at the Center for Rural Development, a sprawling, state-of-the-art facility known locally as the “Taj-Ma Hal.”

 And the kickbacks that come from them:

Rogers’ earmark requests include $6 million to Somerset-based Progeny Systems to develop a biometrics-based submarine access control system; $8 million to Outdoor Venture Corp., also in Somerset, for tents that can be relocated and reconstructed by two people in 20 minutes; and $16 million to the McKee-based Phoenix Products Inc. for aircraft drip pans.

Progeny employees gave more than $13,000 to Rogers through his campaign and his political action committee, HALPAC. Outdoor Venture Corp. president James Egnew and his wife, Azalie, contributed more than $20,000 to Rogers’ campaigns; Peggy and Thomas Wilson, owner and manager of Phoenix Products, have given roughly $15,000.

Rogers sees the connection as coincidental.

But that was then and this is now… that Hal Rogers is gone and as today’s profile proves, we have a new Hal Rogers:

“My district will be among the hardest hit by these cuts, but my people understand that everyone must tighten their belts during this time of crisis.”

Hitting particularly close to home, the $1.3 Billion new Hal Rogers slashed from community health centers — which included the rural health centers old Hal had (in an apparent moment of decent pork-steerage) once called “essential.”

And what do Congressman Porker’s colleagues think of the job he’s new-doing? Well, Abdullah tracked down a couple of them. Fellow Republcian Rand Paul took a quiet shot at good ol’ new Hal:

“I applaud the Republicans for moving a step further toward the needed cuts,” said Sen. Rand Paul, who voted against the stopgap measure earlier this week. “However, the proposals are simply not enough.”

And Congressman Ben Chandler really put the screws to hypocrite Hal and the GOP’s bullshit economic reforms, just absolutely laying into him:

Rogers always handles complex, difficult situations in a considerate and level-headed way, said Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles.

“He has worked very hard, and I am confident he will continue to prioritize the needs of his home state in the appropriations process,” Chandler said.

Boom! Roasted!

Anyway… Hal’s a totally different dude and you should read all about it.

(And for the record, this ain’t the first time Ben’s pulled out the pom-poms for Hal Purnell)

Here are Jim Bunning’s earmarks

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December 17, 2010
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All 110 and $657 million that he requested:

  1. Air-Supported TEMPER Tents for Force Provider Deployable Medical Systems $8,000,000
  2. Army Injury Prevention and Performance Enhancement Research Initiative $2,000,000
  3. AT4-Confined Space Tandem Warhead YJ05 $4,250,000
  4. Composite Tissue Allotransplantation Research $1,750,000
  5. De-Weighting Military Vehicles through Advanced Composites Manufacturing Technology $3,200,000
  6. Enabling Optimization of Reactive Armor $5,000,000
  7. Fleet Readiness Improvement and Corrosion Mitigation $5,000,000
  8. Freedom Fuels/Coal Fuel Alliance $5,000,000
  9. General George Patton Museum $3,500,000
  10. Kentucky Army National Guard Laser Shot Tactical Weapons Simulator $1,480,000
  11. Laser Phalanx $12,000,000
  12. MILVAN Container Gantry Crane $5,500,000
  13. New Specialty Resins for Advanced Composite Armor $2,000,000
  14. North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN) $4,800,000
  15. NSWC FIRST Kit Platform Technology Program $2,500,000
  16. Radio Frequency Identification Technologies $1,000,000
  17. Surgical Safety Initiative for Military $4,000,000
  18. Tactical Mobility Consortium (TMC) $8,000,000
  19. UH-60 Leak Proof Transmission Drip Pans $8,000,000
  20. Central Kentucky Public Safety Operations Center $2,900,000
  21. Daviess County Detention Center Security Upgrades $34,500
  22. Eastern Kentucky PRIDE $400,000
  23. Hopkins County Voice Radio Infrastructure Project $388,000
  24. Kentucky Data Interoperability Project $1,000,000
  25. Northern Kentucky University Astronomical Observatory – STEM Outreach Initiative $485,000
  26. Operation UNITE $1,000,000
  27. Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force $750,000
  28. Public Safety Radio System Upgrade $2,000,000
  29. Advanced Clean-Diesel Buses $2,100,000
  30. Asphalt Pavement Density Research to Improve Highway Pavement Performance $1,500,000
  31. Ballard County Library $250,000
  32. Buckhorn City Municipal Building $250,000
  33. City of Hyden Center for Wellness and Recreation $1,000,000
  34. Coach Bus for Commuter Campus $690,000
  35. Corbin Center Drive Extension Project $915,000
  36. Construction and Rehabilitation Project of Operations Facilities at the Transit Authority $1,000,000
  37. Dream Riders Dream Facility $300,000
  38. Expansion of Critical Home Repair Program $460,000
  39. Fort Knox Access Road $1,000,000
  40. Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing $500,000
  41. Heartland Parkway $1,000,000
  42. Hospice of the Bluegrass – Mountain Community Free Standing Inpatient Facility $1,000,000
  43. I-71 Interchange $1,000,000
  44. Kentucky Transpark Master Plan Update $1,000,000
  45. KY-16 Underground Utilities $356,960
  46. KY Route 247 Relocation Project $1,000,000
  47. Louie B. Nunn Parkway Interchange $1,000,000
  48. Newtown Pike Bridge Project $1,000,000
  49. Noise Mitigation at Louisville International Airport $1,000,000
  50. Owensboro Community Technical College — Hancock County Extension Campus $554,000
  51. Replacement Buses at Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) $1,584,000
  52. Vision Motors, Inc. Williamsburg Electric Truck Manufacturing Facility $1,500,000
  53. Widening of KY Highway 911 and Cole Road $1,000,000
  54. Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport $540,000
  55. Advancement Research of Invasive Cancer Cells $375,000
  56. American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. $24,600,000
  57. Best Buddies Empowerment for People with Intellectual Disabilities $27,000,000
  58. Big Bore Computer Tomography Scan Unit $552,000
  59. Career Training Center $969,000
  60. Career Training for Disabled Veterans $350,000
  61. Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky $175,000
  62. Chrysalis House Family Program $245,000
  63. Community Healthcare Access and Improvement Initiative $1,900,000
  64. East Kentucky Health Initiative $450,000
  65. Expansion of Lighthouse Promise, Inc. $1,185,000
  66. Hosparus Medical System $425,000
  67. Hospital Facility Support Systems and Equipment Projects $1,800,000
  68. Lindsey Wilson College School of Professional Counseling Institute for Advanced Study $435,000
  69. Midway College Adult Nursing and Health Science Center $1,000,000
  70. The Nest – Center for Women, Children, and Families $550,000
  71. New Horizons MRI System Initiative $850,000
  72. Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission Head Start $700,000
  73. Northern Kentucky University Center for Regional Stewardship: A National Center for Excellence $4,955,000
  74. Residential Hospice House of Murray $925,000
  75. Save the Children’s Rural Literacy Program $500,000
  76. Scientific Research Equipment for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology $1,500,000
  77. Visiting Nurse Association Employment Program $402,500
  78. Barren River Lake Water Supply $400,000
  79. Big Rivers Corridor Land Acquisition $3,250,000
  80. Big Sandy Watershed Reevaluation $200,000
  81. Calhoun Sewer Plant Digester Wall Replacement $100,000
  82. Chickamagua Lock Construction $28,000,000
  83. City of Hartford Wastewater Rehabilitation Project $1,400,000
  84. City of McKee Wastewater Treatment Plant $1,500,000
  85. City of Whitesburg Water Treatment Plant $1,500,000
  86. Clean-up Activities at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant $144,729,000
  87. Consolidated Shipping Center at Blue Grass Army Depot $12,400,000
  88. Cumberland Falls Highway Water District Waterline Extension $1,921,000
  89. Elvis Stahr Harbor Dredging $764,000
  90. Fort Campbell Physical Fitness Center $19,000,000
  91. Greenup Locks and Dam $19,000,000
  92. Hydropower Modernization Program, Cumberland River $1,000,000
  93. John T. Meyers Locks and Dam $6,000,000
  94. Kentucky Lock and Dam Addition Project $48,700,000
  95. Kentucky Soil Erosion Control $2,500,000
  96. Lake Cumberland Operations and Maintenance $1,000,000
  97. Local Agriculture and Family Nutrition Program $500,000
  98. Markland Locks and Dam $5,400,000
  99. Memorial Park Acquisition $380,000
  100. Metropolitan Louisville Pumping Station Reconstruction Study $100,000
  101. Mill Springs Battlefield Incorporation into the Cumberland Gap National Park $1,000,000
  102. Northern Kentucky Riverfront Commons $142,000
  103. Ohio River Basin Study $4,000,000
  104. Olmsted Lock and Dam Expansion $143,200,000
  105. Panther Creek Flood Mitigation Project $1,100,000
  106. Silver Grove Pump Station Improvements $2,500,000
  107. Strategic Liquid Transportation Fuels Derived from Coal $10,000,000
  108. Technical Assistance Grants to Kentucky Soil Conservation Districts $1,750,000
  109. Thomas More College Science Renovation and Education Program $1,500,000
  110. The Media Technology Center $993,000

Fiscal conservatives like Jim Bunning are taking their country back!

Here are Mitch McConnell’s earmarks

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December 17, 2010
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All 58 and $276 million of them that he requested:

  1. Conservation Technical Assistance Grants $750,000
  2. Kentucky Soil Erosion Control and Soil Survey Program $1,000,000
  3. UK/Advanced Genetic Technologies Project $650,000
  4. UK/Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Forage-Animal Production Research Unit $4,000,000
  5. UK/Animal Health, Forages for Advancing Livestock Production Project $750,000
  6. UK/Bioresource Land Use Planning Project $750,000
  7. UK/Crop Diversification and Biofuel Research and Education $1,000,000
  8. UK/Health Education through Extension Leadership Project $300,000
  9. WKU/Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Laboratory $9,751,800
  10. WKU/Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Waste Management Research Unit $3,607,500
  11. City of Benton Public Safety Communication Equipment $35,000
  12. Hart County Sheriff’s Department Technology $40,000
  13. Kentucky Data Interoperability System $100,000
  14. Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force Equipment and Training $250,000
  15. UK/Firefighter Gear Safety Research $500,000
  16. UofL/Diagnosing and Mitigating Human Exposure to Radiation Project $2,500,000
  17. Warren County Emergency Management $100,000
  18. Kentucky National Guard Marijuana Eradication Program $4,000,000
  19. Laser Phalanx $12,000,000
  20. Lighter Body Armor Inserts for the U.S. Soldier $2,000,000
  21. Mk 38 Mod 2 Minor Caliber Gun System $5,000,000
  22. Mk 110 57mm Naval Gun System $6,000,000
  23. Reactive Armor Ballistics Technology $5,000,000
  24. UK Discriminatory Imaging for Missile Defense Program $5,200,000
  25. UofL Biomarkers of Exposure to Toxic Chemicals $2,000,000
  26. UofL Radio Frequency Identification Technologies $1,000,000
  27. WKU National Information Assurance Center $6,000,000
  28. Cleanup Efforts at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant $116,466,000
  29. Medical Monitoring at the Gaseous Diffusion Plants $1,000,000
  30. UK Coal-Derived Low Energy Materials for Sustainable Construction Project $1,000,000
  31. UofL Research for Energy Independence Program $2,000,000
  32. WKU Carbon Sequestration by Chemical Looping Project $1,200,000
  33. Bowling Green Data Center $1,500,000
  34. NKU/College of Informatics $700,000
  35. City of Hartford Sewer Rehabilitation Project $1,500,000
  36. Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge Land Acquisition $2,000,000
  37. Daniel Boone National Forest Counter Drug Operations $900,000
  38. Fern Lake Purchase by Cumberland Gap National Historical Park $1,200,000
  39. Glasgow Waste Water Treatment Plant $900,000
  40. Land Between the Lakes (LBL) Management and Operations $8,300,000
  41. City of Paint Lick Sewer Project $112,000
  42. WKU Small Public Water System Technology Center $500,000
  43. MSU Mobile Health Unit $500,000
  44. NKU College of Informatics $2,000,000
  45. UK Colorectal Cancer Research Program $1,900,000
  46. UK HeartHealth Community Health Management Program $2,000,000
  47. UofL Center for Liver Cancer $900,000
  48. UofL Haymarket Research Park Building Construction $4,000,000
  49. UofL MedCenter3 Equipment $700,000
  50. WKU School of Nursing Expansion $2,500,000
  51. Fort Campbell Infantry Squad Battle Course $3,400,000
  52. Fort Campbell Physical Fitness Center $19,000,000
  53. Fort Campbell Shoot House $3,350,000
  54. Fort Knox Rail Head Upgrade $14,000,000
  55. Fort Campbell 911 Road Widening $5,000,000
  56. Fort Knox Access Road $1,600,000
  57. Kentucky Blood Center Building Construction $1,000,000
  58. Paducah Waterfront Development Project $1,000,000

The Senate Minority Leader is taking your country back!

Shocker: Mitch McConnell breaks his earmark pledge. Already. OK, it’s not a shocker…

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December 15, 2010
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Remember when all of those people were crowing about how the Teabaggers had forced Porky Mitch into pledging to ditch his earmarks that he loves so much in order to not be challenged as minority leader? And people actually believed that this would happen?

Yes, some people are really really really really gullible.

Here’s what McConnell said about the new omnibus spending bill today:

“It’s completely inappropriate; I’m vigorously in opposition to it,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said before vowing that Republicans would oppose the measure without significant changes.

Way to stand strong against all those earmarks, Mitch!

Oh by the way, here’s what’s in the bill:

But the spending plan contains hundreds of millions of dollars worth of earmarks requested by Republicans, including from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) himself.

Earlier this year, McConnell asked for $4 million for marijuana eradication efforts by the Kentucky National Guard; $1 million for construction of the Kentucky Blood Center Building; and $650,000 for Advanced Genetic Technologies, a DNA research center at the University of Kentucky.

Mmm hmm…

Got an answer for that, Mitch?

When reporters asked about his earmark requests Tuesday, McConnell said he was “actively working to defeat” the massive omnibus bill since the Senate never had a chance to take up individual appropriations bills.

“I think there are many Senate members who have provisions in it for their states who are also actively working to defeat it. This bill should not go forward,” he said.

Taking their country back!!!

(h/t Think Progress)

The Hal Rogers cheerleading committee

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December 9, 2010
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Ben Chandler:

“Congressman Rogers’ new appointment can’t be anything but good for the commonwealth — this is a great honor for both Rogers and our state,” said Chandler, D-Versailles.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Hal in the past, and I look forward to working with him closely in the next Congress,” Chandler said.

You know, he’s right. It can’t be anything but good.

Steve Beshear:

“It is great to have a Kentuckian in a position like that,” Beshear said. “Obviously it will be good for our state and I’m looking forward to working with him. I think his being chairman of the House Appropriations Committee will be great for Kentucky.”

KDP rooster:

Takin’ their country back!

Teabaggers usher Pork King into House Appropriations Chairmanship

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December 7, 2010
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Taking their country back!

House Republicans have tapped Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) to take the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee, setting up an old bull appropriator with a history of earmarking to deliver on the anti-spending tea party platform that carried the GOP to victory this fall.

The House GOP Steering committee selected him for the powerful position Tuesday. The entire Republican conference is expected to confirm his bid Wednesday.

Rogers has been a member of the appropriations panel since 1983, adept at securing earmarks for his district. In his bid for the position, he promised the GOP he’d overhaul the committee, ending the earmark process. He’s vowed to strip funding for health care.

There was a 10% chance that earmarks would end before this. Now, it’s probably 2%.

Any of you all feeling suckered yet?

Hal Rogers in 3-way pork race for Appropriations chair

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December 6, 2010
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The Teabaggers are taking their country back!

Selecting a chairman — a party vote is expected Tuesday — is the first step in perhaps the most audacious aspect of the plan by Representative John A. Boehner, the incoming Republican speaker, to alter the way the House works. Like Mr. Lewis, the other two leading candidates, Representatives Harold Rogers of Kentucky and Jack Kingston of Georgia, are campaigning to convince their party’s leadership that they can cast aside their own histories as earmarkers and pork-allocators and lead a shift in focus from how to spend it to how to save it.

*****

All the candidates for chairman have more than 15 years on the committee and all have hungrily sought earmarks. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, in the last fiscal year, Mr. Lewis won 62 earmarks worth $97.6 million, followed by Mr. Rogers with 59 costing $93.4 million, and Mr. Kingston 40 worth $66.8 million.

Good work, Teabaggers!

Here’s video footage of the chairman race:

Mitch McConnell says he’ll cut off his right hand (UPDATE)

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November 15, 2010
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Well, not literally his right hand. But something just as important to him: his pork diet.

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a longtime defender of the Congressional authority over federal spending, said on Monday that he would support a proposed ban on earmarks, the lawmaker-directed spending items, in the next Congress.

*****

“I have thought about these things long and hard over the past few weeks,” Mr. McConnell said. “I’ve talked with my members. I’ve listened to them. Above all, I have listened to my constituents. And what I’ve concluded is that on the issue of Congressional earmarks, as the leader of my party in the Senate, I have to lead first by example.”

Mr. McConnell nonetheless made clear that he still believed that earmarks were not necessarily synonymous with wasteful spending. “Make no mistake,” he said. “I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state.”

“But,” he continued, “there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.”

One: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Two: more proof that Mitch McConnell believes in nothing except for his own political power and survival. I guess the 2014 primary isn’t as far away as we think…

UPDATE: Videotape of McConnell’s speech below:

NRO: "Is Rand Paul already selling out?"

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November 8, 2010
By

I have an upcoming post that I foolishly tried to write while I was traveling (FAIL) about which Dr. Paul will come to Washington, but Veronique de Rugy at the National Review may have found a hint at the answer.

She quotes this passage about Rand Paul and earmarks from the dirty librul gotcha communists at the Wall Street Journal:

In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad “symbol” of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky’s share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it’s doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. “I will advocate for Kentucky’s interests,” he says.

de Rugy writes:

Is he selling out already? I am fully aware that the issue of earmarks is a very symbolic one. Getting rid of earmarks won’t save us from the current debt explosion, nor is it likely to end the spending; it will just leave the decision in the hands of the agencies rather than selected lawmakers. Still, I could imagine that when a legislator submits his earmark request, the appropriations committee, at least sometimes, increases the overall budget for the agency by the amount of the earmark.

After showing “Rand’s no-pork pledge” on his website which is remarkably different from what he told the Wall Street Journal, she writes:

I would have expected a little more time between Paul’s election and statements like this one.

Well, maybe that’s because you’re not a self-certified Paulthamologist like me, Veronique.

More on this in a bit…

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