WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today announced the final results of its online poll for the 2006 Porker of the Year. Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) received 48 percent of the vote, with co-nominees Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) receiving 25.5 percent, and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) receiving 22.9. The finalists were chosen by CAGW staff from among the 12 Porker of the Month winners for 2006. Rep. Mollohan was named Porker of the Month in April 2006 for abusing his position on the House Appropriations Committee by securing millions of dollars in earmarks that may have benefited him personally. The New York Times (4/08/06) detailed how Rep. Mollohan directed $250 million to five nonprofit organizations that he set up. Rep. Mollohan surrendered his seat as ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee in April. CAGW identified $480 million for pork projects added in the House or in conference committees, most likely by Rep. Mollohan, for his district since 1995. More than half of his earmarks have gone to the five nonprofits, most of which depend almost entirely on government money for funding. To run the organizations, Rep. Mollohan recruited friends and former aides who then contributed to his political campaigns and family foundation. Businesses that are awarded contracts through these nonprofits also make campaign contributions. The Times described the network of nonprofits as "plush," with lavish facilities and high salaries. The Canaan Valley Institute, which is building a $33 million headquarters with earmarked funds, grew out of an effort to create a wildlife refuge near property that Rep. Mollohan owns. The National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint challenging the accuracy of Rep. Mollohan's financial disclosure forms. The root question is whether a spike in Rep. Mollohan's personal fortune had any connection to earmarks that he secured. On June 13, Mollohan filed two dozen corrections to his past six annual financial disclosure forms and called the errors "unintentional." The FBI is examining charges that Rep. Mollohan illegally benefited from distribution of funds. West Virginia ranked fourth in pork per capita in CAGW's 2006 Congressional Pig Book, which identified 9,963 pork projects costing a record $29 billion in the 11 appropriations bills for fiscal 2006. Rep. Mollohan received the Molehill into a Mountain "Oinker" Award for his $2.2 million in appropriations for the MountainMade Foundation, which promotes West Virginia arts and crafts on the Internet. Asked if he was going to change the way in which he directs federal tax dollars to the five nonprofit groups, Mollohan repeated the discredited "power of the purpose" defense of earmarks, saying he is "not going to change a bit ... How else would members ... get funds if they aren't able to earmark funds?" (The Times West Virginian, November 8). Local projects are properly the domain of the private sector, nonprofit groups and state and local government. Federal funding should be distributed according a competitive process or formula to ensure fairness and prevent abuse by appropriators. Rep. Mollohan also opposed efforts to make the budget process more transparent and accountable. On December 8, he helped to defeat legislation (H.R. 6375) that would have required the Secretary of Defense to grade congressional earmarks with an annual report card. For directing earmarks to wasteful projects that have the effect of swelling his campaign coffers and possibly his personal wealth, for pledging to continue his pork addiction in the face of national scrutiny and an FBI investigation and for opposing earmark reforms, Rep. Alan Mollohan is the 2006 Porker of the Year. More information on the winner and finalists can be found in the Porker of the Month Hall of Shame at http://www.cagw.org. Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month and Porker of the Year are dubious honors given to lawmakers, government officials and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.
SOURCE Citizens Against Government Waste