Monday, April 07, 2008

Report Shows King Not Delivering Money To Western Iowa

This time its the numbers, not spoken words, that should dog U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

Western Iowans now have hard-dollar, change-on-the-floor proof that they are left with little in the way of real constituent work from King. A government spending report reveals that King has something of a reverse Midas touch when it comes to bringing home federal dollars for his 32 counties.

Figures from the Citizens Against Government Waste Congressional (CAGW) "Pork Book" show that King is by far the weakest bread winner of Iowa's congressional delegation. King brought home just $9.8 million in 2008 in what the group calls "pork-barrel" spending.

While ostensibly a measure of what this conservative organization deems "waste" or "pork" spending, the report can't help but reveal the effectiveness of legislators in working the system to get money for their constituents. Toward that end, U.S. Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, are runaway leaders for the Hawkeye State, bringing back $321.4 million and $302.8 million, respectively, in what the CAGW calls pork-barrel spending. Western Iowa's former congressman, Tom Latham, now over in the 4th District, delivered seven times as much as King -- $67 million. Since Latham, too, is a Republican, King can't counter that this is about partisan politics in a Democratically controlled Congress.

That said, two first-term Democrats in Iowa, U.S. Reps. Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, brought back $27.5 million and $53.5 million, respectively, in 2008, CAGW reports. That's far more than third-termer King who has a GOP powerhouse, Grassley, with whom to team up for the interests of western Iowa's many small towns that are in dire need of economic-development assistance.

Sure, the current system is fraught with waste and abuse. But can western Iowa afford to have a congressman unilaterally disarming in the fight for infrastructure and projects? Instead of having an advocate in Congress, western Iowans get Kingisms, written or spoken hate routines that appear to be demo tapes or tryout screeds for a right-wing radio talk-show career.

And rather than forging working relationships with people in Washington, D.C., who could do something for Iowa King is chumming around with the political equivalent of street corner preachers and others often found talking to themselves in strange places.

No comments: