Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Airport Earmark
Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has put in an earmark request for the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission. The trouble is, the airport doesn’t exist – and the commission is run by one of Jackson’s congressional staffers.
According to its Web site, the Airport Commission "has a mandate from its members to plan, develop, finance, construct and operate a commercial airport with passenger and cargo facilities near University Park, Illinois.” The airport would be the third in the Chicago area.
Jackson’s earmark would take $231,000 from U.S. taxpayers for "Minority and Small Business Development and Procurement Opportunities.”
The House’s Republican Study Committee (RSC) said in a statement: "It seems rather curious than an airport that doesn’t yet exist would need to develop opportunities for minorities and small businesses.”
The Commission’s Web site reveals that the Executive Director of the Lincoln Airport Commission is Richard Bryant. Legistorm.com, a site that tracks congressional staff and salaries, lists Bryant as the Deputy District Administrator for Rep. Jackson, who represents a Chicago-area district.
The money request comes even though in 2006 Jackson had vowed on his Web site: "I won’t pursue federal funds for the Abraham Lincoln National Airport.”
The earmark came to light in a report for the Financial Appropriations Bill.
The RSC statement said: "Thankfully, Congressman John Campbell, R-Calif., chairman of the RSC Budget and Spending Taskforce, will offer an amendment that will protect taxpayers by prohibiting their dollars from being used for this extremely questionable earmark.”