Politicians from Obama on down enjoy ‘monuments to me’ with help of your stimulus funds

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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:

Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York

Harkin Grants: A grant program for local school remodeling in Iowa

Harkin Wellness Grants: A grant program for promoting healthy lifestyles in Iowa

Thomas R. Harkin Global Communications Center (CDC building)

Arlen Specter Headquarters and Emergency Operations Center (CDC building)

Mitch McConnell Park in Bowling Green, KY

John D. Dingell Drive

Jack P. Murtha Highway

James E. Clyburn Golf Center

James E. Clyburn Pedestrian Overpass

James E. Clyburn Intermodal Transportation Center

Congressman David Dreier Water Treatment Facility in Baldwin Park

Don Young ‘s Way

The Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center

The Lewis Center for Educational Research

The Doyle Center for Manufacturing Technology

The Kanjorski Center office building in Pennsylvania

The C.W. Bill Young Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases

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.