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Ga.’s earmark king seeks chair of House Appropriations
By JIM WALLS
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston championed more earmark spending last year than any other Georgia congressman. Now he’s running to lead the House Appropriations Committee.
Kingston sponsored or co-sponsored $66.8 million in earmarked appropriations in fiscal year 2010, according to data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense and OpenSecrets.org. That’s about $9 million more than U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, the second-most profligate pork-barrel spender in Georgia’s House delegation.
The 18-year congressman’s 2010 earmark list included $58.4 million from the military budget, including $9 million for construction at Hunter Army Air Field; $6.4 million for the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center; research at UGA, Georgia Tech and Morehouse College; and appropriations for defense contractors in Georgia, Virginia, Utah and Arizona.
Other projects included:
- $2.5 million for the Chatham Area Transit bus system
- $2 million for hospitals in Brunswick and Alma
- $1.7 million for city governments of Alma, Kingsland, Ray City and Valdosta
- $1.1 million for the Glynn County Airport
- $350,000 for training and curriculum development at Atlanta Christian College in East Point
- $300,000 for the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta
- $209,000 to improve blueberry production.
In a news release Friday announcing his bid for Appropriations chair, Kingston touted his anti-earmark credentials:
In 2007, I introduced the first major earmark reform bill with Frank Wolf and Zach Wamp. This bill (H Con Res 263) had 160 cosponsors including most members of the Appropriations Committees as well as the Republican Study Committee and all members of leadership. It garnered a range of support from members like Chris Shays to Jeff Flake. This bill called for a moratorium on earmarks coupled with bipartisan hearings to define and reform them.
Kingston sponsored or co-sponsored $44.3 million of earmarks in FY09 and $100.3 million in FY08, according to the Taxpayers for Common Sense database.