Under Investigation Watch: Do They Really Care About Earmarks?


If there was ever a test case for whether voters cared about the abusive earmarking practice than the race in WV-01 would be it. This year Rep. Alan Mollohan found himself the subject of a federal investigation into his use of earmarks to create a series of nonprofits headed by his real estate partners. Mollohan, like other West Virginians sent off to Washington, is a prolific earmarker and has created an entire technology corridor — this technology corridor being the reason for the investigation — in northern West Virginia through earmarks. But will voters punish Mollohan for his earmarking or do they see his perch on the Appropriations Committee as a means of attracting money and jobs to a seriously depressed state economy.

While Mollohan’s opponent, state Del. Chris Wakim, is counting on voter anger over Mollohan’s earmarking editorials like this make me think that people in West Virginia really like their pork.

Byrd’s the man who’s leading the hogs to the trough, followed by Congressman Alan Mollohan, who reportedly has earmarked $480 million for West Virginia over the past decade.

Now we can’t be as naive to think that just Byrd and Mollohan are the only ones behind these earmarks, but we’d like to see Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Reps. Nick Rahall and Shelley Moore Capito make the list as well.

It might be pork, but West Virginians should clearly love it.

It’s putting meat on our tables.

West Virginia and Alaska are two states that are dependent upon the practice of earmarking. Many rural areas are also increasingly relying on this secretive process to help them obtain road improvements, jobs, and numerous other amenities that they can’t afford themselves.

Rural areas tend to be the most targeted for earmarks and other federal assistance. It puts meat on their tables. Mollohan certainly is facing some backlash for his actions, but nothing akin to what Republicans who have done similar things are facing this year. Any other year and Mollohan’s actions, despite West Virginia’s appetite for pork, might have caused this election to be a toss-up but Mollohan looks to be safe again. The current political climate, where voters would rather pull a lever for Clem Kadiddlehopper over any Republican, is certainly helping Mollohan as much, if not more, than his ability to put pork on the table.