Anti-Stimulus Lawmakers Fought For Funds, Report Says
Dozens of Republicans who strongly touted their opposition to the 2009 Recovery Act have nonetheless quietly made requests for stimulus money, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity.
The report finds that leading members of Congress -- including Rep. Pete Sessions, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, former presidential candidates John McCain and Ron Paul, and Tea Party favorites Michele Bachmann and Sen. Scott Brown - have discreetly requested stimulus funds despite their public opposition to the initiative.
Sessions, a Texas Republican, has repeatedly decried the law as a "trillion dollar spending spree" that was "more about stimulating the government and rewarding political allies than growing the economy and creating jobs." But in February of 2010, Sessions wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to allocate $81 million in stimulus money for a project in an affluent Texas suburb, according to the report.
In his letter of request, Sessions changed his tone regarding the potential usefulness of stimulus aid in relieving recession-related hardships. "Carrollton's project will create jobs, stimulate the economy, improve regional mobility and reduce pollution," he wrote.
The report also states that Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - both of whom say they prevented legislators from including special spending requests in the Recovery Act - did their own behind-the-scenes bartering to gain funds after it passed.
Conservative advocacy groups that oppose the Recovery Act have expressed their dismay at news of the discrepancy between rhetoric and reality on the part of some lawmakers.
"The GOP should not be taking this money and spending it regardless of where it came from," Rob Gaudet, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, said to the Center for Public Integrity. "They should be fighting against it with every fiber of their elected beings."
For the full report from the Center for Public Integrity, click here.
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