Conservative Groups to Speaker Ryan: Do Not Restore Earmarks | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Conservative Groups to Speaker Ryan: Do Not Restore Earmarks

Letters to Officials

January 26, 2018

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Mr. Speaker,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations and our millions of members, we appreciate your leadership in bringing the debate over earmarks into the open after the attempt to modify the earmark moratorium in the Republican Conference on November 16, 2016. 

Following that meeting, you were quoted by sources in the room that you wanted a “more thorough process to look at this issue” and that it was not appropriate to reinstitute earmarks in a secret-ballot process.

We agree that any modification of the earmark moratorium or any legislation related to earmarks must be done through a recorded, public vote, and urge you to reiterate your commitment to this process.

Earmarks are corrupt, inequitable, and wasteful.  They circumvent the authorization and appropriations process.  The history of earmarks is not apparent to the more than 60 percent of House Republicans who were elected following the establishment of the moratorium in 2011.  While these members may be tempted by the promise of earmarks, they should be aware that at best they might get a few morsels of pork.  In the 111th Congress, 81 appropriators (50 in the House and 31 in the Senate), who constituted 15 percent of the entire Congress, purloined 51 percent of the earmarks and 61 percent of the money.

We understand that if a vote for the return of earmarks takes place outside of the legislative process, it could be behind closed doors in a Republican Conference meeting, or possibly at the Republican retreat on January 31-February 2.  Those who call for reviving earmarks claim that they will be more transparent and accountable than in the past.  If that is the case, a secret vote gives little confidence to taxpayers that a new earmark regime would be above board.

We do not support a restoration of earmarks in any way and continue to advocate for a permanent earmark ban.  But, if a vote to restore earmarks were to take place, we respectfully urge you to ensure that the vote tally is made public, so that the American people can know who decided to bring back bridges to nowhere, indoor rainforests, and teapot museums.


Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks

Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform

David McIntosh, President, Club for Growth

Senator Jim DeMint

Edward Corrigan, Former Executive Director of the Senate Steering Committee

David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Carrie Lukas, President, Independent Women's Forum

Heather R. Higgins, President and CEO, Independent Women's Voice

Michael A. Needham, CEO, Heritage Action for America

Andrew Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jonathan Bydlak, President, Coalition to Reduce Spending

Ryan Alexander, President, Taxpayers for Common Sense

Lisa B. Nelson, CEO, ALEC Action

Jim Martin, Founder and Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Olivia Grady, Senior Fellow, Center for Worker Freedom

Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment

George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom

Jenny Beth Martin, Chairman, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund

Victor Riches, President and CEO, Goldwater Institute

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Coalition Letters

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