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The Kaptur Files: #7 Presidio Heritage Center

On September 24, 2008, Rep. Marcy Kaptur voted in favor of HR 2638, a $630 billion bill that contained 2,322 earmarks (Roll Call 632).

Included among those earmarks was $1.5 million for the Presidio Heritage Center in San Francisco, our #7 in the countdown of her most wasteful pork projects.

The Presidio is part of the National Park Service. Because of its unique city-like nature and the costs associated with maintaining it, Congress created the Presidio Trust in 1996 to preserve the Presidio's resources and to help the park become financially "self-sufficient." Of course, despite the goal to be financially self-sufficient by 2013, the Presidio is still being supported with pork projects.

This earmark was requested by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. To learn that Rep. Kaptur supported this expenditure should come as no surprise, since she votes with Rep. Pelosi 96% of the time.

To make matters worse, the Presidio Heritage Center received an additional earmark of $5 million in 2009. Apparently, it needed even more government support before becoming financially "self-sufficient."

As Citizens Against Government Waste said the day after HR 2638 passed:
"In a flurry of activity yesterday, (House Appropriations Committee Chairman David) Obey forced Congress to vote on a stop-gap continuing resolution worth $1 trillion in spending with less than 24 hours to review its contents. The rush was aimed at getting lawmakers out of Washington, D.C. as quickly as possible to campaign before the November election and to short-circuit any in-depth scrutiny of the billions of dollars in wasteful spending. The bill came to the House floor under a closed rule, which prohibited amendments and passed 370 to 58.

"Chairman Obey's actions, and the actions of the entire Democratic leadership team in the House represent a stunning abdication of fiscal responsibility," said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. "A significant number of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are allowing themselves to be steamrolled and, once again, demonstrating blatant hostility to the rights of taxpayers to know how their money is being spent. The deadline for approving appropriations bills is the same each year, September 30, and if the Democrats had done their job over the past nine months, this legislation could have been deliberately considered, reviewed, and publicized. Democrats took over Congress promising greater transparency; this is completely contrary to that claim."

Chairman Obey, perhaps out of embarrassment for his incredibly irresponsible management of the national treasury, announced earlier this year that he would not stand for re-election this fall. A second senior member of the committee also abruptly announced retirement from the House. Marcy Kaptur did not avail herself of such an opportunity.

Other pork projects in this Department of Defense bill were:
· $2 million for Brown Tree Snakes in Hawaii
· $2.4 million for the National Eye Evaluation and Research Network
· $2.4 million for the National Center for Research on Evaluation Standards and Student Testing skill set analysis
· $2.4 million for the Lewis Center for Education Research (an educational facility designed to improve education effectiveness and scientific literacy among American school children)
· $1.2 million for the National Bureau for Asian Research
· $4.8 million for the Jamaica Bay Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York
· $3 million for The First Tee - a program to promote character development through the game of golf

Here is where we need to mention - again - that the earmark system is, firstly, unconstitutional and, secondly, a wild abuse of the federal treasury mostly for the benefit of members of Congress who want to make friends and fatten their campaign war chests. Marcy Kaptur fits this bill, as The Kaptur Files continues to make clear time and again.

Details on #7 of The Kaptur Files are available here:

The Kaptur Files: