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Tuesday, December 27, 2005
  Hillary Clinton Using DOD Pet Projects To Repay Donors
New York Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer have asked the Pentagon to spend $123 million for New York projects that the Department of Defense didn't ask for, many benefiting the lawmakers’ campaign contributors.

Among the Democratic senators’ projects cited by the New York Sun:

# $5 million to STIDD Systems of Greenport, whose president gave $2,500 to the Friends of Hillary political action committee in May. The company makes seating for military vessels.

# $8 million to the defense contracting firm DRS Technologies and its electronic warfare and network systems program in western New York. The firm's political action committee gave $8,000 to Friends of Schumer and $30,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which Schumer chairs. The company also gave Clinton's political action committee $2,000.

# $2 million to the Buffalo firm Nano-Dynamics, Incorporated, whose chairman gave $4,400 to the Friends of Hillary political action committee over the past year. Three of the firm’s officers gave $2,000 each to Schumer's campaign.

# $2 million to Plug Power, Incorporated, a developer of fuel cell technology. The company's president Roger Saillant has given $2,000 to the Friends of Hillary committee over the past two years, and $3,000 to the Friends of Schumer committee over the past four years.

In announcing the projects – included in a $454 billion defense-spending bill – the two senators touted the impact they would have on the state’s economy. "It's like anything else: Some of it's pretty good, and some of it is taking care of their friends. That's what politics is all about. If you think you have a system based on where people who receive donations from their private sector don't tend to favor their friends, I'd like to see it."

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain recently attacked earmarks in a speech on the Senate floor.

"During a war, in a measure designed to give our fighting men and women the funds they need, the Congress has given in to its worst pork barrel instincts," he declared. "The cumulative effect of these earmarks is the erosion of the integrity of the appropriations process, and by extension, our responsibility to the taxpayer. We must do better, for our soldiers and for the American people. "Our system is broken if we cannot pass a defense bill in wartime without billions of dollars in pork."
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