Stephen Fincher
Rep. Stephen Fincher is getting in some hot water for violating his 2010 “No Pork Pledge” from the Citizens Against Government Waste.   He, along with Rep. Fleischman and 63 other first-term Republicans, has signed a letter to Speaker John Boehner requesting passage of a measure that would suspend duties for certain special interests in their districts.

Steve Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, said such benefits “have a lot of the markings and trappings of earmarks, and all the concerns we had about earmarks are still there.”

But he said debating whether tariff breaks count as earmarks misses the bigger question of why Congress is involved in choosing such breaks at all. The International Trade Commission — which already examines tariff measures before they take effect — could pick the benefits and submit them to Congress for a vote, preventing lawmakers from being swayed by companies that hire lobbyists and make big campaign contributions, he said.

The 2010 pledge signed by Fincher states that candidates “vow not to request any pork-barrel earmark” which include measures that are not requested by the President or serve only a local or special interest. It seems like partisan posturing in 2010 has given way to the desire to curry favor with the special interests that are bankrolling his campaign.

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