February 7, 2012

Bipartisan Bonanza: Both Dem And GOP Congressmen Spent Taxpayer Money On Beaches Near Their Homes

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) has a cottage on Tybee Island, and spent millions of taxpayer dollars to replenish its beach.

Today, the Washington Post  — drawing on publicly available data as well as research by conservative author Peter Schweitzer — published an interactive map showing how 33 members of Congress “helped direct more than $300 million in earmarks to dozens of public projects for work in close proximity to commercial and residential real estate owned by the lawmakers or their family members.”

Two members even got large earmarks for renovating the beaches near their own properties. Here’s a rundown of what they requested:

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA): Kingston represents Georgia’s first congressional district, which includes the state’s best waterfront property. Kingston owns a cottage valued at $142,900 on Tybee Island, a popular tourist destination. The cottage is located 900 feet from the beach, which Kingston won a $6.3 million earmark for in 2008. “It’s absurd to suggest that this benefits me,” Kingston said of the earmark to the Post.

Rep. C.A. Dutch Rutppersberger (D-MD): Ruppersberger represents Maryland’s second congressional district, which includes waterfront towns like Essex, Maryland. He obtained $187,000 in 2008 for a beach replenishment survey along the Ocean City shoreline. He also happens to own two condominium units there along with his wife. “That’s a stretch to say that thing’s going to benefit me,” he told the Post of the earmark.

See the full Post earmark map here.