Since 2003, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) has earmarked more than $100 million to help rebuild downtown Tuscaloosa, Ala. The project razed four square blocks to build a new parking deck, a park plaza and a federal courthouse. It also repaved streets, buried overhead cables and installed new sidewalks and ornamental lighting. Shelby owns an office building downtown. The street in front of his office will also be made over along with other streets as part of phase two of the project, also funded by his earmarks.
See Senator Shelby’s earmark here
Thirty-three members of Congress have steered more than $300 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or near the lawmakers’ own property, according to a Washington Post investigation. Under the ethics rules Congress has written for itself, this is both legal and undisclosed.
In the first review of its kind, The Post analyzed public records on the holdings of all 535 members and compared them with earmarks members had sought for pet projects, most of them since 2008. The process uncovered appropriations for work in close proximity to commercial and residential real estate owned by the lawmakers or their family members. The review also found 16 lawmakers who sent tax dollars to companies, colleges or community programs where their spouses, children or parents work as salaried employees or serve on boards.
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