Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Fool and His Money

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) was a very strong voice against the stimulus package last winter, calling it “fundamentally flawed and doesn’t represent the change we deserve or the stimulus we need,” and so he voted against it. But he was all too happy to cash the check when the money showed up in his district.

On July 28, Kingston’s office issued news releases announcing $245,187 combined in funding through the federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services for the Alma and Jesup police departments. The money will pay the salary and benefits for one entry-level police officer for each department for three years, according to Kingston’s news releases, which did not mention the funding was made possible by the federal stimulus program.

“We’ve seen from experience that local initiatives go a lot further toward solving local problems than policies set in Washington,” Kingston said in his release about the funding for Jesup. “This funding will provide tax relief by saving local tax dollars.”

If he had the true courage of his convictions, he would have refused the money and found a way for the local governments to come up with the quarter of a million dollars. But as long as they’re handing it out, he’ll take it… as long as he doesn’t tell people where it comes from:

His spokesman said Kingston, who remains opposed to the stimulus, routinely announces all types of federal funding for his district without identifying the legislation that created it.

“We are very cautious not to take credit for it in those releases,” Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford said.

His colleague, Rep. Phil Gingery, goes one better. He freely admits to taking the money even though he too was against the stimulus, and explains it thus:

If the Democrats are hellbent on spending an astronomical sum of money, it is my job as a member of Congress to see that the communities I represent receive consideration for the federal funds that the Democrats are spending, whether I agreed with its allocation or not.

It reminds me of the Groucho Marx line: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”