Sen. Mary Landrieu is in danger of becoming the poster child for earmark reform. Yesterday, the senator once again found herself under scrutiny for a questionable earmark she obtained, this time for an organization linked to her brother, Martin Landrieu. A New York Times article raised questions about the $190,000 earmark, slated to go to a now-defunct Lake Area Community Center. Martin Landrieu, an attorney, helped incorporate the New Orleans nonprofit behind the project. Landrieu insists she did not know her brother was involved with the project until after the fact. In a story in today’s Advocate, Landrieu says she is trying to redirect the earmark request due to the fact that the community center failed to obtain other necessary funding.
While no ethics laws have been violated in the request, the publicity certainly isn’t welcome for Landrieu, who has a reputation as one of Capitol Hill’s biggest pork barrel abusers. Last year, Landrieu came under fire for abusing the system after The Washington Post discovered that one of the biggest benefactors of a Landrieu earmark threw her campaign a major fundraiser soon afterward. The issue helped land the senator on D.C. watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s annual list of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress. More recently, Landrieu was identified by the nonprofit Taxpayers for Common Sense as the senator with the second largest amount of pork projects in Congress' recently passed spending bill.
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