The Corner

Nancy’s Eye on Earmarking

Nancy Pelosi is, apparently, promising to ‘change’ the practice of earmarking. Good for her. Of course, like so many other members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, earmarking is something she knows quite a bit about. The LA Times has details:

When the House passed a massive spending bill last November, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi made sure her constituents knew what they were getting. “Pelosi Secures $115 Million for San Francisco Transportation, Housing, Science and Arts,” she proclaimed in a news release. It wasn’t an unusual announcement. Like many of her colleagues in Congress, Pelosi for years has celebrated bringing home the bacon to her district…Pelosi has not been linked to any impropriety. And not all the federal funding Pelosi boasts about came from earmarks. But the presumed new House speaker has proved a champion practitioner of the earmarking process over the years. During the last congressional session, her district received far more earmarks than a typical district, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog that tracks congressional spending. Pelosi has helped direct tens of millions of dollars to subway and bridge projects in San Francisco. She has secured money to restore a historic schooner and convert the old San Francisco Mint into a history museum. Citizens Against Government Waste, a critic of such “pork-barrel” spending, has calculated that Pelosi’s district received nearly $31.3 million through earmarks in the last two fiscal years…Three years ago, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Pelosi had secured $1 million for the University of San Francisco’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, which was started by her longtime advisor and campaign treasurer. At the time, the 10-term congresswoman from California’s 8th District said the center had received the funding on its merits. Pelosi has defended her earmarking, including at a news conference in March. “There are many earmarks that are very worthy,” she said. “All of mine, as a matter of fact.”

The Times quotes Pelosi has saying that she would “just as soon do away with all of them,” but it’s not clear whether ”them” refers to all earmarks or just what Rep. Pelosi refers to as “special-interest earmarks.” I hope it’s the former, but the latter would be a start.

Go Nancy, go. We’re waiting.