I'm tired of the Club for Growth and their Hypocrisy

The Club for Pork:The CFG's Hypocrisy on Earmarks
by Joe Carter

"Earmark reform will shine a glaring light on the profligate pork barrel projects and the politicians who sponsor them," said Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth. What Toomey forgot to mention is that earmark reform not only shines a light on the politicians who dole out pork but on the recipients of multi-million dollar pork projects--including the ones who serve as officers for the Club for Growth.

In August the Club for Growth began running attack ads in Iowa on Gov. Mike Huckabee. It seemed odd that the CFG would bother to spend so much money on a candidate who was so far down in the polls. But as Salon.com found after checking disclosures through the IRS, the ads had been paid for by "a Little Rock neighbor and political rival of Huckabee's named Jackson T. "Steve" Stephens Jr." Not only did Stephens provide the $125,000 to Club for Growth.net, he serves as the chairman, along with his Arkansas business associate, Gary Faulkner.

When he's not paying for attack ads, Stephens serves as president of a private manufacturing company ExOxEmis Inc. According to OpenSecrets.org, Exoxemis Inc. paid a lobbying firm $600,000 over the past four years to get the company earmarks worth at least $3,342,000.
In 2005, ExOxEmis received $1,342,000 for a research and development project. The same project received even more funding in the latest Defense appropriations bill. Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson even bragged about getting the $2 million earmark in a Sep. 12, 2007 press release (On the CFG's RePORK Card, Nelson gets a rating of 7%. This particular earmark, of course, was not included in the grading.)

No doubt, the project is a worthy venture. But the question is whether federal tax dollars should be used to support the R&D budget of a multi-millionaire's private company. Shouldn't The Club for Growth--which is a part of Porkbusters--be the first to condemn such earmarks? Is Toomey afraid to bite the hand that feeds him--even if that same hand is receiving pork handouts from the government?

While it's an admittedly minor issue, it does raise concerns about the credibility of CFG. It's disgraceful enough that they'd let Stephens use the CFG as his personal vendetta machine. But if Toomey is willing to overlook pork when it goes to his own people, how serious can he be about earmark reform?