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Monday
Jul052010

Corporations, Congressmen Cheat on Earmark Ban

RedDollarSignNo.jpgLooks like various corporations are getting around the ban on earmarks by setting up "non-profit" organizations to launder the money for them, with the willing assistance of certain members of Congress.

This according to a story in the July 4 New York Times by Eric Lipton and Ron Nixon.

Not surprisingly, General Electric is one of the miscreants, although it teamed up with an established educational institution, Penn State University, rather than create a new non-profit to get around the ban as others apparently have done.

Penn State, readers will recall, took federal tax money to fund the work of its Professor Michael Mann of global warming hockey stick fame. When questions were raised about Mann's work as part of the Climategate scandal, Penn State investigated Mann itself. No conflict of interest there!

I haven't seen Penn State's press release on its exoneration of Mann, but it probably says something like: "Penn State to Feds: Keep Sending Us Money, We Swear We're Clean."

Say Lipton and Nixon about the GE and Penn State collabortion:

...In Pennsylvania, General Electric is likely to get as much as 80 percent of a $2 million earmark proposed by Pennsylvania State University for research on clean-burning GE locomotives. At the suggestion of the company and the university’s lobbyist, according to a Penn State professor, the university is listed as the lead player in the collaboration instead of GE, as was done previously. GE executives made a series of political contributions to Representative Kathy Dahlkemper, Democrat of Pennsylvania, days after she submitted the earmark request...
Do you suppose GE will pay back the money if it brings to market a locomotive based on the research funded by the taxpayers? Ha ha.

Lipton and Nixon further say:

Profit-making companies were singled out for the earmark ban because their requests, routinely submerged in giant budget bills by their allies in Congress, tended to be more questionable than those sought by nonprofit groups, which include charities, local governments and educational institutions.
The ban on earmarks should be extended to cover everybody.

Meantime, please consider signing our online petition to GE CEO Jeff Immelt.

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