Here are they are.*
You decide how valuable the expenditures are. It's your money he's spending:
|$485,000.00||Sustainable Engineered Materials from Renewable Sources (National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Special Research Grants)||AG||Boucher||Warner; Webb|
|$868,000.00||Biodesign and Processing Research Center (National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Special Research Grants)||AG||Boucher||Warner; Webb|
|$400,000.00||Inland Marine Aquaculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Special Research Grants)||AG||Boucher||Warner; Webb|
|$250,000.00||Blacksburg Police Department, Blacksburg, New River Valley Emergency System (COPS - Law Enforcement Technology)||COM||Boucher|
|$265,000.00||Lee County, Jonesville, Law Enforcement Technology Grant for Lee County (COPS - Law Enforcement Technology)||COM||Boucher|
|$235,000.00||Smyth County, Marion, Local Law Enforcement Technology for Smyth County (COPS - Law Enforcement Technology)||COM||Boucher|
|$4,000,000.00||Center for Injury Biomechanics (Research, Development, Test and Evaluation - Army)||DEF||Boucher||Warner; Webb|
|$500,000.00||Center for Advanced Separation Technologies (Department of Energy: Fossil Energy R&D)||ENERGY||Boucher; Moran (VA)||Warner; Webb|
|$4,000,000.00||Levisa and Tug Forks and Upper Cumberland River, WV, VA & KY (Corps of Engineers: Construction)||ENERGY||Boucher||Webb; Warner|
|$81,000.00||New River, Claytor Lake (Corps of Engineers: General Investigation)||ENERGY||Boucher||Webb|
|$90,000.00||Clinch River watershed (Corps of Engineers: General Investigation)||ENERGY||Boucher||Webb; Warner|
|$150,000.00||University of Virginia, Wise, VA for installation of a Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone system and demonstration activities through its Emerging Technologies Learning Center (Education: Higher Education)||LABHHS||Boucher|
|$150,000.00||Jacksonville Center for the Arts, Floyd, VA for workforce training (Labor - Employment and Training Administration)||LABHHS||Boucher|
|$400,000.00||Southwest Virginia Community College, Richlands, VA for green jobs training in rural communities (Labor - Employment and Training Administration)||LABHHS||Boucher|
|$500,000.00||Twin County Airport obstruction removal and runway safety improvement (Airport Improvement Program)||TRANS||Boucher|
|$500,000.00||Virginia Tech Airport runway rehabilitation (Airport Improvement Program)||TRANS||Boucher|
A couple of thoughts to consider:
1) Boucher, when asked about his penchant for producing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of earmarks, said rather famously:
"I frankly think the members of Congress are far better situated to understand the priorities of their districts."
A good line. But is he right or wrong? Is Boucher - a lawyer by trade - best suited (or "better situated") to decide whether the four million bucks (this year alone) he's dished out to the Center for Injury Biomechanics at Virginia Tech, for example, is worth the expenditure? Or is an expert in the field of biomechanics in the Army's Development and Engineering Command at the Defense Department more capable of making such a determination? It is, in the America outside of the Democratically-controlled Congress, appropriate for those who will be utilizing the expenditure to determine the need, and the effectiveness of the outlay, rather than some small-town lawyer who thinks he knows best.
But Boucher thinks otherwise. Or at least that's what he says.
2) If Boucher is responsible for the disbursal of funds through his earmark process, what oversight does he apply to the expenditures? Does he receive regular updates on the achievements - breakthroughs - that organizations like the Center for Injury Biomechanics bring to the marketplace? Or does he write a check and move on to his reelection campaign, with no afterthought given to where that $4,000,000 of your money went? And - see above - would he know a breakthrough if it hit him upside the head?
I don't know about you but I see this as having the potential for widespread abuse. Is the Center for Injury Biomechanics nothing more than another "bridge to nowhere"? Probably not. But next time you write a check for $4,000,000 and the recipient tells you it's probably going to be money well spent, I'd hope you'd pause and consider the response.
3) Who can argue with Boucher writing a check to Lee County law enforcement in the amount of $265,000? After all, it's law enforcement. Well, I can. If Lee County needed the money maybe Lee County should have secured the necessary tax revenue to fund Lee County priorities, including its law enforcement obligations. Here you have a situation where tax revenue is drawn from the people, including those in Lee County, sent off to Washington where a portion is siphoned off to pay for the (very expensive) overhead there as well as for the handling of the revenue and the expenditure, and what's left is sent back down to Lee County. Maybe it should have stayed in Lee County in the first place.
Lee Countians can't afford it, you say? Impoverished Lee County? Well, who can? Rich Californians? With their $20 billion deficit? Wealthy New York with its looming $12 billion imbalance? We've robbed from Peter to pay Paul so much that now both Peter and Paul are dirt poor. Where's the money to come from? The Chinese? For how long?
Anyway, now that I'm completely depressed, there are Boucher's latest earmarks. Enjoy.
Until he's driven from office expect more of the same next year. And the year after. And ...
Until there is no more money.
* Source: Citizens Against Government Waste.