Earlier this year, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) — commonly referred to as the stimulus — without a single Republican vote in the House of Representatives. Since then, a whole host of legislators who opposed the stimulus have jumped at the opportunity to personally deliver stimulus funds to their cash-strapped districts.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that not a single Georgian GOP legislator who voted against ARRA has turned down stimulus funds for their district. The paper notes one congressman, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), has managed to get away with this hypocrisy by hiding the source of the funds he is doling out:
On July 28, Kingston’s office issued news releases announcing $245,187 combined in funding through the federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services for the Alma and Jesup police departments. The money will pay the salary and benefits for one entry-level police officer for each department for three years, according to Kingston’s news releases, which did not mention the funding was made possible by the federal stimulus program.
“We’ve seen from experience that local initiatives go a lot further toward solving local problems than policies set in Washington,” Kingston said in his release about the funding for Jesup. “This funding will provide tax relief by saving local tax dollars.”
In February, Kingston said the recovery act is “fundamentally flawed and doesn’t represent the change we deserve or the stimulus we need.” His spokesman said Kingston, who remains opposed to the stimulus, routinely announces all types of federal funding for his district without identifying the legislation that created it.
“We are very cautious not to take credit for it in those releases,” Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford said.
Last week, ThinkProgress noted that Kingston’s colleague Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) — another ardent opponent of the stimulus — handed a giant, stimulus-funded check to the city of Cedartown, Georgia to help fund community development projects.
Gingrey — who remains opposed to the Recovery Act — was forced to release this statement explaining his hypocrisy: “If the Democrats are hellbent on spending an astronomical sum of money, it is my job as a member of Congress to see that the communities I represent receive consideration for the federal funds that the Democrats are spending, whether I agreed with its allocation or not.”