Politicians from Obama on down enjoy ‘monuments to me’ with help of your stimulus funds
Last Friday, Orlando, Fla. became the first city to name a road after President Barack Obama. Fittingly, $11,503,000.00 from Obama’s stimulus will fund the 3.3 miles of road combining Pine Hills Road and Mission Road in Orange County.
Mattie Corrao, government affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform, was not surprised by this recent use of stimulus funds to politicize yet another public works project.
“This is pretty characteristic of the ‘stimulus,’ which was essentially established as a slush fund for political pet projects.” she told The Daily Caller. “It just illustrates how much of the stimulus has been used to politicize and advertise the stimulus itself.”
The most egregious example, she said, was the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport — which cost taxpayers nearly $200 million but has seen hardly any passengers except for Congressman Murtha himself, prior to his recent demise.
But President Obama and Congressman Murtha are not the only sitting politicians to have had projects named in their honor. A multitude of current lawmakers are enjoying the pleasure of seeing their appellation tied to what critics call “monuments to me.”
Senator Robert Byrd is notorious for self-aggrandizing public works projects bearing his moniker. Currently the president pro tempore of the Senate has over 30 projects named in his honor. Not too shabby for a former member and Kleagle (recruiter) for the Ku Klux Klan.
The Robert C. Byrd “Soul of the Senate” website boasts of such projects as:
Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center
Robert C. Byrd addition to the lodge at Oglebay Park, Wheeling
Byrd Aerospace Technology Center
Robert C. Byrd Bridge between Huntington and Chesapeake, Ohio
Robert C. Byrd Cancer Research Center
Robert C. Byrd Clinical Addition to the veteran’s hospital in Huntington
Robert C. Byrd Community Center, Pine Grove
Robert C. Byrd Community Center in the naval station, Sugar Grove
Robert C. Byrd Drive, from Beckley to Sophia (Byrd’s hometown)
Robert C. Byrd Expressway, U.S. 22 near Weirton
Robert C. Byrd Federal Building
Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse
Robert C. Byrd Freeway
Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope
Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center, near Princeton
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia
Robert C. Byrd High school in Bridgeport
Robert C. Byrd Highway
Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex, Mineral County
Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships
Robert C. Byrd Industrial Park, Hardy County
Robert C. Byrd Institute in Charleston
Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing
Robert C. Byrd Library and Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center
Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center
Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam
Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center
Robert C. Byrd Rural Health Center
Robert C. Byrd Scholastic Recognition Award
Byrd Science Center, Shepherd University
Robert C. Byrd Technology Center at Alderson-Broaddus College
Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center
Robert C. Byrd Visitor Center at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
While Sen. Byrd has the most egregious record, many a lawmaker has done the same. A partial list of the more unfortunate uses of taxpayer money:
In 2009, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) was successful in passing a ban on all “monuments to me” which applied to all 2009 military and Veterans Affairs construction spending for the last quarter of fiscal year 2009 and funding of all “monuments to me” for the first fiscal quarter of 2009.
McCaul’s Communications Director, Mike Rosen, told the Daily Caller, “We live in an era of distrust of Washington and Congress. The Congressman believes such naming gives the perception that leaders in Washington are insulated and out of touch.”
He continued that, though Congressman McCaul was unsuccessful in getting the 2009 law to apply to these projects indefinitely, he has proposed additional legislation to that effect. The current Democrat majority, Rosen said, has made it clear that they have no intention of dealing with the this year’s budget or spending bills and are actively preventing debate over the Congressman’s proposed legislation.