Washington, D.C. –Despite a ban on earmarks in the House of Representatives, the man long dubbed the “Prince of Pork,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), can continue to bring home the bacon for a network of organizations based in his district. In Rep. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) exposes this wide-ranging and exceedingly complex web in unprecedented detail, and shows how Rep. Rogers has created an empire that can still garner federal funding, despite the earmark ban.
“During the past few months, there have been many glowing stories about Rep. Rogers, and how he has supposedly sworn off his porkish ways,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “CREW’s research shows, however, this is not an accurate portrayal of the true Hal Rogers. In reality, Rep. Rogers has built a fiefdom, where millions in federal funding can continue to be funneled to home state projects each year.”
Rep. Rogers sits at the center of an interconnected web that includes Kentucky nonprofit groups, a bank he partially owns, and several companies he has supported with federal money. These entities have strong ties to Rep. Rogers and to each other, and help extend Rep. Rogers’ influence in his district.
“Rep. Rogers called the recently passed continuing resolution an example of the Republican majority’s commitment to changing the way Washington spends the people’s money. Unfortunately, his rhetoric doesn’t match his record,” said Ms. Sloan. “Rep. Rogers has spent the past 30 years funneling tax dollars into southeastern Kentucky, and for him to now claim that he’s suddenly seen the light and will turn off the federal faucet strains credulity.”
Rep. Rogers has earmarked billions over the years but he’s also helped his pet groups obtain money directly from federal agencies, ensuring they will continue to benefit from federal largesse despite the earmark ban. Rep. Rogers also appears to have directly lobbied federal agencies for money.
On March 7, 2011, CREW filed eight Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with federal agencies, asking for information about Rep. Rogers’ role in directing federal money via agency spending. The Small Business Administration (SBA) responded with documents detailing how Rep. Rogers intervened on behalf of a campaign donor, the owner of a marina in his district, to win an increase in the amount of the marina’s SBA disaster loan, which had been denied by the agency twice previously. The agency relented after a meeting with the marina owner in the congressman’s office. CREW’s other FOIAs are still pending.
“Why has Rep. Rogers created such a complex web of organizations?” asked Ms. Sloan. “The logical inference is that he has deliberately made it as difficult as possible to follow the money.”
Click here to read CREW’s report, Rep. Rogers Neighborhood.