Last night President Bush proposed a National ID card to help identify legal citizens and control illegal immigration. Garance Franke-Ruta at TAPPED asks if Bush’s speechwriters read the New York Times before writing this part of the speech:
Whoever wrote this speech obviously hasn’t been reading The New York Times lately, or he’d have known that the reason we don’t have a tamper-proof card already is because of the self-dealing ways of a certain Kentucky Republican known to his local paper as “The Prince of Pork”.
Instead, the road to delivering this critical antiterrorism tool has taken detours to locations, companies and groups often linked to Representative Harold Rogers, a Kentucky Republican who is the powerful chairman of the House subcommittee that controls the Homeland Security budget.
It is a route that has benefited Mr. Rogers, creating jobs in his home district and profits for companies that are donors to his political causes. The congressman has also taken 11 trips — including six to Hawaii — on the tab of an organization that until this week was to profit from a no-bid contract Mr. Rogers helped arrange. Work has even been set aside for a tiny start-up company in Kentucky that employs John Rogers, the congressman’s son.
“Something stinks in Corbin,” said Jay M. Meier, senior securities analyst at MJSK Equity Research in Minneapolis, which follows the identification card industry, referring to the Kentucky community of 8,000 that has perhaps benefited the most from Mr. Rogers’s interventions. “And it is the sickest example of what is wrong with our homeland security agenda that I can find.”
The Washington Post previously reported on Rogers’ homeland security largesse. The congressman had gotten funds for Reveal Technologies, his largest PAC contributor, to provide small and medium sized explosion-detection scanners to airports through funds in the Transport Security Administration budget. The scanners wound up running at a quarter of the speed of larger machines. So, if you’re upset about the lack of movement on a National ID card (as the President ought to be considering his speech last night) or if you are standing in a long line while somebody’s bags get searched by a slow machine you can always raise your fist and shake it at Rep. Hal Rogers.