CAGW Grounds $3 Billion in Defense Budget Pork
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) won its multi-year battle to terminate federal funding for the alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter, a wasteful pork-barrel project that was opposed by both the Bush and Obama administrations and the Pentagon, which had repeatedly said the alternate engine was “not necessary and not affordable.” On April 25, the Department of Defense terminated its contract for production of the engine after CAGW ultimately embarrassed Congress into declining to fund the program. Then taxpayers received an early Christmas present when GE and Rolls-Royce announced on December 2 that they would cease self-funding the project at the end of the year. CAGW led the opposition to the engine since disclosing the first earmark for it in the 2004 Congressional Pig Book, and pulling the plug on the project saves taxpayers $3 billion. Read more about the death of the alternate engine.
CCAGW Wins Repeal of ObamaCare's 1099 Mandate
In April, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) celebrated the repeal of the 1099 tax-compliance mandate in President Obama's healthcare law, a measure that would have created a mountain of paperwork and unnecessary expense for small businesses. If the provision had remained intact, in 2012 businesses would have had to report to the IRS all payments totaling $600 or more annually to any individual or business for goods and services. The same bill also repealed a separate tax reporting rule, which took effect on January 1, 2011, requiring landlords to report more information about their business expenses for rental properties. Read CCAGW's letter calling for the repeal of the business tax reporting mandate.
CCAGW Thwarts Attempt to Circumvent Earmark Ban
House Armed Service Committee members this month removed a slush fund containing $652 million in pork-barrel earmarks from the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. CAGW researchers had unearthed and publicized the so-called Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund (MFET) in May, noting that 59 of the 111 projects in the fund closely resembled those identified as earmarks in CAGW's 2010 Congressional Pig Book. Despite protestations from the committee's chairman, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), that his bill was earmark-free, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) agreed with CAGW that the MFET appeared to have been designed to allow members to secure pork for their districts without violating the congressional earmark moratorium, and they successfully pressed for the fund's removal. Read more about CAGW's discovery of the earmark slush fund.
CAGW Partners with ABC to End Bureaucrats’ Junkets
A CAGW/ABC News joint exposé ended a Department of Transportation (DOT) program that sent federal bureaucrats on around-the-world junkets to Australia, Sweden, Scotland, and the Netherlands to study billboard advertising. Over the past decade, taxpayers have shelled out $12 million for these “educational” trips, which included stays at luxury hotels and dinners at top restaurants. Read more about the DOT junkets.
CCAGW Applauds Job-Creating Trade Pacts
In a victory for America's businesses and consumers, CCAGW celebrated the signing of free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and Korea, which will boost U.S. exports, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs; benefit consumers by allowing the import of goods and services from these countries at lower prices; and improve the nation's global economic competitiveness. Read CCAGW's letter urging Congress to pass the free trade pacts.
CAGW Receives Widespread Media Coverage in 2011
CAGW once again received widespread media coverage in 2011, with appearances on television, radio, and in newspapers and newsmagazines from coast to coast. From interviews with CAGW spokespersons on ABC’s “20/20” and “Good Morning America,” CBS's “The Early Show,” and FOX News Channel's “FOX and Friends” to citations in the Associated Press, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, to name just a few, CAGW has again made Washington's runaway spending one of the top news stories in America.
And in the States…
CCAGW marshaled its grassroots activists to battle tax increase proposals in numerous states this year, while once again fending off legislation in Missouri that would have driven up prescription drug costs. In addition, CAGW published four of its widely heralded Piglet Books inArizona, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Tennessee generating numerous television, radio, and newspaper citations in those states. Among the reforms adopted by state policymakers: New Mexico stopped issuing interest-free loans to back movies filmed in the state, which had cost taxpayers nearly $30 million over 10 years; Arizona saved $3.7 million by cutting funding for its Historical Society and Department of Racing, ending taxpayer backing of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, eliminating the Department of Mining and Minerals, and closing the Mining Museum; and in Tennessee, the Piglet Book's scrutiny of generous tax breaks and other incentives used to attract businesses to the state contributed to the cancellation of a taxpayer-backed $1.6 million contract to relocate IQT Inc.'s headquarters to Nashville.