Buried in a Colorado Springs Gazette article from a couple of days ago was a morsel that should make conservatives cheer — Congressman Mike Coffman has not requested a single earmark. (Thanks to the reader who passed this along).
We are frankly tired of politicians talking the talk of fiscal conservatism, then roping the pig for their favorite friend in the district. From the Colorado Springs Gazette:
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Littleton, is the only member of the Colorado delegation who hasn’t requested a single dollar in earmarks. Coffman, who was elected in 2008, said he opposes the earmark system for that very reason.
“Decisions are made not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of the political leverage of an individual member of Congress,” Coffman said.
Since the earmark ban was put into place this session of Congress, it means freshman Congressmen Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton didn't have the option to earmark. We are glad they didn't even have the temptation.
Former Congressman Joel Hefley makes a good point in the article about the need to allow Congress to specify projects for funding, otherwise they would cede too much power to the administration's project priorities. But the process was so abused by both parties over the last couple of decades, that it was time for a ban.
At some point it might make sense to allow earmarks again, but only with as much transparency as possible built into the requests. For now, a cooling off period is exactly the medicine politicians in Washington need to swallow to earn back the public's trust.
We're thankful that Congressman Coffman never needed the cooling off period, and is proof you can be an effective representative for your district without requesting earmarks. Finally, a conservative who walks their talk.