Saturday, July 28, 2007

Senator Tom Coburn puts the heat on Defense Secretary Gates to detail earmarks

Via Robert Novak's reporting (note the earmarks that benefit Senator Ben Nelson's son):

Sen. Tom Coburn, frustrated with the Pentagon winking at earmarks, wrote Defense Secretary Robert Gates July 19 requesting a critique of all Defense spending items asked by members of Congress to determine whether they "are for necessary national security purposes or to satisfy the parochial self-interests of politicians and defense industry lobbyists."

Coburn has experienced difficulty in getting information from the Pentagon on more than 300 earmarks contained in the Defense Department authorization bill. Over the past five years, such earmarks have cost taxpayers $55 billion. Coburn has not received a response from Gates at this writing. He has failed to mandate such critiques by legislative action.

Earmarks cited in Coburn's letter to Gates include more than $40 million for 21st Century Systems Inc. (21 CSI), sponsored by Sen. Ben Nelson. In defending the earmark for a company that employs his son, Nelson claims support from the Pentagon...


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