Defunding The Swamp’s Administrators

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) sponsored an amendment to reduce the salary of an out of control bureaucrat to $1. The amendment would have reinstated the 19th Century Holman Rule, which Democrats rescinded in 1983 when they held the majority.

The amendment was defeated 139-276 (Roll Call Vote 249).

Unfortunately, seven Republicans from Texas voted to preserve the full salary of an out-of-control federal bureaucrat. They include:

  • Kevin Brady
  • John Carter
  • Mike Conaway
  • Kay Granger
  • Will Hurd
  • Mac Thornberry
  • Roger Williams

Taxpayers should take notice that Texas’ Pete Sessions, a powerful committee chairman and part of the House leadership, was among those trying to allow congressmen the right to offer amendments to spending bills to reduce bureaucrat salaries and consolidate or eliminate offices.

Gosar sponsored the amendment after doing a lot of work in his committee assignments to expose the actions of an out of control bureaucrat. In a hearing earlier this year before the House Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans, Gosar asked tough questions of Administrator Gabriel about his continued support for the Transmission Infrastructure Program. It was very clear that Gosar and his staff were well prepared and diligently did their prep work.

In doing the tough work of committee hearings outside of the Fox News Channel limelight, Administrator Gabriel’s answers to Rep. Gosar exposed his efforts to contradict the Trump Administration’s budget proposal which was released in February 2018.

Federal bureaucrats acting outside of the Administration’s proposals is unacceptable and the sponsorship of the Holman Rule amendment to reduce Administrator Gabriel’s salary to $1 is an essential Article I responsibility of Congress.

Americans for Limited Government’s president, Rick Manning, writes:

Who elected Mark Gabriel? The fact is President Trump was elected to office, not Mr. Gabriel. The bureaucrat does not get to override the President simply because he does not like the policy. It is time for Congress to fulfill their basic responsibilities and start holding these out of control bureaucrats accountable when they refuse to follow the law.

Further, according to ABC15 in Arizona, the television station uncovered “out-of-control waste, abuse and fraud inside federal power agency.”

The ABC15 investigative report stated, “In a two-year period (2012 – 2014), auditors discovered 11,600 questionable purchases totaling $6.8 million that required further review. The report also highlights broad categories of those questionable purchases, including $271,000 spent at book stores and $196,000 at sporting good stores.

WAPA employees also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading government vehicles with “unnecessary” equipment, devices and features.

The report showed that many employees had cards with high purchase and monthly limits. Credit card statements and receipts obtained by ABC15 highlight the high-dollar and extremely questionable purchases:

  • An employee bought $2,933 of ammunition even though WAPA employees don’t have government-issued guns.
  • There were thousands of dollars spent on specialized weapons gear, including multiple $1,200 rife scopes.
  • Dozens of handwritten receipts – some for thousands of dollars, were submitted and approved.
  • One employee bought himself a $14,000 ATV, Cloud said. Receipts show the employee spread the loan payments out over several months on his government credit card.

“We found a lot of really questionable purchases along the way – high dollar purchases,” said Keith Cloud, whose team of internal security officials investigated the purchases. “We had an individual who was exceeding over $50,000 a month.”

It will be interesting to see the campaign ads of Republicans who voted against the Holman Rule. It will be the ultimate insult if they say “Re-elect me, I am draining the swamp and/or fighting for you” – since they can’t even support reducing a bureaucrat’s salary to $1.

Going forward, all members of the Texas delegation should challenge their staff and ask why are they not sponsoring Holman amendments this appropriation year.

Future members running for office should ask the same thing immediately after election day.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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