Saturday, February 23, 2008

$1.5 Million Earmark Figured Out

So, I asked some open questions about the earmarks Representative Scott Garrett handed out in FY2007 where a recipient could not be found. However, doing a little digging, it seems that the $1.5 million for 2kw Military Tactical Generator Improvements that the military didn't request seems to go to Dewey Electronics. This is based on their annual report to shareholders and a press release from Senator Frank Lautenberg back in 2006 describing his acquisition of funds for a project with the same title.

According to the FEC and, Garrett received $4,500 from Dewey Electronics executives. While that may seem like something, and to some extent it is, here's the really interesting part from Dewey's Annual Report:
In late January 2007 the U.S. Army informed the Company of a significant change in Army staff and priorities related to the 2kW Generator Program and an end to additional funding under the research and development contract the U.S. Army awarded us in 2004. As a consequence, the Company wrote-off all of its capitalized development costs totaling $703,799 to costs of revenue in the fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2007.

So Garrett sought a $1.5 million earmark in FY2007 for a program in addition to a contract to a supplier already getting paid for the work; and for a program the Army knew it was going to end.

To make matters worse, Garrett was joined by Representatives Rodney Frelinghuysen, Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman in asking for an additional $3 million for the project in the FY2008 budget (h/t Herb Jackson) after the program had been eliminated.

This is why earmarks are such a problem. By law, our money has to go to Dewey even though the Army doesn't want the research done anymore. What exactly they'll use it for and why our Representatives decided they needed the money may be a mystery forever.

Garrett joins his colleagues every year to talk about budget boondoggles, one has to wonder if this will make the list next year. One also has to wonder how his buddies over at the Club for Growth will react to him seeking $4.5 million over two years for a program the Army doesn't want anymore.

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