A new study released today by Americans for Prosperity Foundation indicates that Washington politicians use taxpayer-funded earmarks to bolster their reelection efforts, with a real effect on voters.
“We now have proof that Washington politicians supplement their reelection efforts by using taxpayer dollars to fund pork-barrel projects in their districts,” said Phil Kerpen, Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s Vice President for Policy. “Given that fact, we obviously can’t stop wasteful earmarks by appealing to Washington politicians on moral or ethical grounds alone. We need fundamental legal reforms to prevent this sort of behavior and untie it from an incumbent’s reelection efforts.”
Among other findings, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation study shows that a 100-percent increase in earmarks obtained by a legislator typically results in an increase in vote share between 4.1% and 5.7%.
“These politicians are using your tax dollars to send themselves back to Washington, where they waste even more of your money,” Kerpen continued. “This only reinforces the broken spending mechanisms that are bankrupting our country.”
And what about legislators who refuse to take part in the corrupt earmarking process?
“A really important takeaway from this study is the fact that politicians who refuse to accept earmarks are heroes,” said Kerpen. “They put their own ambitions at risk to protect taxpayers from waste, fraud and corruption – and taxpayers ought to thank them for that.”
The Americans for Prosperity Foundation study, titled “The Effects of Earmarks on the Likelihood of Reelection,” was conducted by Dr. Thomas Stratmann, a professor of economics at George Mason University in Virginia and a scholar with the Mercatus Center.
Read the full study here