Today the Center for Defense Information (CDI), National Taxpayers Union (NTU), Project On Government Oversight (POGO), and Taxpayers for Common Sense sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates urging him to make it clear to Congress that earmarks in the proposed Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations bills cannot be tolerated. The letter particularly raises concerns about Congress's practice of earmarking funds from Operations and Maintenance (O&M) accounts that are needed for troops in the field.
"The appropriations process has demonstrated that Congress is not committed to basing defense spending on the best interests of our national security," said the groups. The letter cites concerns with 10 unneeded C-17 aircraft as being among the 800 earmarks that Congress has prioritized over the stated priorities of the Pentagon.
The Defense Appropriations bill is frequently used by Members of Congress as a wish list to Santa to bring money and contracts back to their districts. Taxpayers for Common Sense tracks these earmarks in its database, which can be found at www.taxpayer.net.