The FlashReport would like to congratulate the three members of California's Congressional delegation who have been tapped with 'high honors' from the National Taxpayers Union -- receiving their coveted "Taxpayer Friends" rating... And the winners are... Dana Rohrabacher, Ed Royce and our own FR Beltway Correspondent John Campbell!!
OK! So I guess if you're a best buddy of Jack Abramoff, or you have the state buy you a Mustang Saleen AFTER YOU ANNOUNCE YOUR RUN FOR CONGRESS (!!!), or you direct a $300,000 State Department grant to a Russian hospitality school run by your wife's employer, then you're a "Taxpayer Friend"...
Want to find out more? Follow me after the flip...
So how exactly does this National Taxpayers Union base these "taxpayer friendliness" scores?
The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a member of Congress voted to spend less money. [...]
NTU believes a score qualifying for a grade of "A" indicates the member is one of the strongest supporters of responsible tax and spending policies. We are pleased to give these members of Congress our "Taxpayers' Friend Award."
OK, so these folks don't like government spending...
So I'd think that these folks do not appreciate WASTEFUL GOVERNMENT SPENDING...
Like Dana Rohrabacher's involvement in a multimillion-dollar Hollywood scam:
A promotional video on the website for ``DHS: The Series'' follows the program's supposed star, Alison Heruth-Waterbury, on a mid-2004 trip to consult with Washington terrorism experts. ``We're here talking to some very important people in the government so they can help us create and make this `DHS,''' Heruth-Waterbury tells viewers. [...]
Her first videotaped VIP: fellow Californian Christopher Cox, then Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Homeland Security Committee.
Over the past two years, Bush, Cox and other officials who had at most passing contact with [Joseph] Medawar's program wound up lending unintended credibility to a television project that federal prosecutors now call a multimillion-dollar scam.
Trading on Hollywood glamour and Washington power, Medawar, a Los Angeles-based producer of a half-dozen low-budget feature films, collected $5.5 million since 2003 from investors in ``DHS: The Series,'' prosecutors say. Television viewers have never seen a single episode.
OK, so this case isn't exactly wasteful government spending. However, this is still an illegal action that defrauded investors of their money. And oh yes, these "DHS" folks were USING THEIR GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS TO CHEAT THEIR INVESTORS!!! Oh, and how was Medawar able to do this?
Rohrabacher, who says he went to the church that relatives of Medawar attended, arranged Heruth-Waterbury's meeting with Cox and [Michigan Congressman Mike] Rogers, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, after the producer sought assistance in making his show more authentic.
And why did Dana Rohrabacher do this for Medawar?
Medawar contributed $2,000 to Rohrabacher's re-election committee in 2003, campaign records show. That same year, the nine-term California congressman also received $23,000 from Medawar for a two-year option on the right to film an action-movie screenplay called ``Baja'' that Rohrabacher wrote in the 1970s.
Rohrabacher, 58, says Medawar seemed sincere about promoting moral values. ``That was one of the comfort factors he provided, some guy talking about his religious faith and how I went to church with his family,'' Rohrabacher says.
``He was flamboyant, he exaggerated, he had flash and glitter,'' Rohrabacher says. ``He fit into my image of what Hollywood was all about. None of that translated to me that he couldn't do the project.''
OK, Dana! You're flamboyant. You exaggerate. And yes, you have plenty of flash and glitter. But "friend of taxpayers"? Gimme a break!
Still, at least Dana Rohrabacher can say that he never used California taxpayers' money to buy a new Mustang Saleen... And then KEEP IT AFTER HE ANNOUNCED HIS RUN FOR FEDERAL OFFICE!! When John Campbell was still a State Senator, he asked the state to buy him a fancy sports car. OK, so each lawmaker is entitled to a state car. But a Mustang Saleen? And right when he announced his run for Chris Cox's vacated Congressional seat?
John Campbell was elected last year on the promise that he wouldn't waste tax dollars.
About two weeks after the then-state senator announced he was running for Congress, the state bought him a yellow 2005 Ford Mustang Saleen. The price: $41,000.
Eight months later, after the Irvine Republican was elected in December, the state sold the limited-edition Mustang for $27,000 – a loss of $14,000.
It had been driven exactly 3,676 miles.
Taxpayers pay when lawmakers turn over their state-owned cars in a short period of time. Legislative staff tried to get another lawmaker to take the Mustang, but nobody would because of its color.
"I thought it was a strange request for a fiscal conservative," said Secretary of the Senate Gregory Schmidt, who approves the purchase of cars and works for a Senate controlled by Democrats. "I imagine it was a pretty big hit to the state," he said.
Yes, this seems awfully strange for a self-professed "fiscal conservative". Oh, and isn't it funny how his first victory party in 2005 was at SALEEN HEADQUARTERS IN IRVINE??!! Well, so much for Campbell being a "friend of the taxpayers"!
But how about good ol' Ed Royce? After all, he's a "Taxpayer Hero"? Oh wait, what did Royce ask the State Department to spend $300 thousand on?
Fueled by an unprecedented grant of nearly $300,000 from the U.S. State Department, Russian university professors will get help here in developing their own hospitality curriculum from the faculty of the Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University.
Teams of professors from Petrozavodsk State University will take turns visiting the Collins School over the next three years, starting next month, as they develop a 14-course hospitality-and-tourism curriculum for their students. PetrSU, the largest university in Northwestern Russia, is in the city of Petrozavodsk, about an eight-hour train ride from St. Petersburg. [...]
The Russians will be studying materials used in training managers employed by many of the leading U.S. foodservice and hospitality operators and are expected to get hands-on experience through internships with California restaurants and hotels.
OK, and who is leading this effort at Cal Poly Pomona?
When the State Department grant was approved in August, Garner and Collins School lecturer Marie Royce, whose husband is U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., met with professors at PetrSU in October. [...]
Four faculty members from PetrSU will come to Cal Poly in January for 10 weeks. One of the professors who is the most fluent in English will stay and assist another group of four more professors who will come in April for another 10 weeks, said Marie Royce, who is the project director for the universities' joint effort.
My goodness! So it's OK to spend $300 thousand on your wife's pet "Russian hospitality exchange program", but not on feeding our nation's poor? What type of "taxpayer friend" is that?
Actually, what type of "taxpayer friend" is ANY of these wasteful dudes?
(Cross-posted at Calitics)