In 2020 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought back pork projects for member districts – also known as earmarks – and Republicans approved earmarking when they took back the House in January. They all agreed it was good for the local communities, and everyone promised that the scandals and waste that went along with these white elephants were a thing of the past.
It’s only been four months, but The Messenger magazine has already found four members of Congress have sponsored pricey projects for organizations that employ their spouses over the last two years, The offenders so far are Reps. Pete Aguilar of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Mike Thompson of California, and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. All the members claim they or their spouses will derive no direct financial benefit from the projects.
Rep. Thompson delivered a giant ceremonial check for $1.8 million to a local hospital in his district. “It’s where I was born and it’s where I left my tonsils,” he boasted. It’s also where his wife works as a nurse…
Rep. Aguilar was the sole sponsor of a $750,000 grant to the University of Redlands, his alma mater. His wife works as a student financial services director there.
Rep. Crow is a serial earmarker when it comes to the medical school at the University of Colorado, where his wife works as a professor.
Senator Kaine was the prime mover behind two grants totaling $3.5 million to George Mason University, where his wife was interim president and now serves as a professor there. It helps to have spouses in high places.
Is this déjà vu all over again? In 2012, the year earmarks died in the House, 38 members of Congress — 24 Democrats and 14 Republicans — had sent earmarks to a family business, employer, or associated no