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Does Landrieu even know about what she puts in bills?

Sen. Mary Landrieu squealed like a pig when her latest efforts to divert the nation’s taxpayer’s dollars to specific projects in Louisiana were publicized, only adding to her illustrious and infamous record in spending the people’s money.

About $100 million appropriations items ended up benefiting Louisiana that were not requested by the president and all members of the state’s Congressional delegation made such requests. Still, most came from the Senate but some didn’t appear until the conference committees on the appropriations bills and for some nobody seems to know their origins.

It’s not so much news that Landrieu did this, compiling a 2006 record of bringing home the bacon that put her in the upper half (with one of the largest jumps from last year) of the list of lawmakers with power over Congressional authorizations, along with Rep. Rodney Alexander, the only other member of the state’s Congressional delegation in such a position. She is one of the past winners of a dubious honor put out by the interest group which tracks this, Citizens Against Government Waste, its “Porker of the Month” (shared) for Sept. 2003. She also has used promoted the use of political rather than efficiency criteria in the awarding of Army Corps of Engineer projects, potentially steering money away from flood control projects prior to the hurricane disasters of 2005.

What makes the latest incident interesting is the obliviousness she seems to possess concerning the very items she promotes on behalf of a few interests. When quizzed about the largest item by CNN, for the to-date very-underused J. Bennett Johnston Waterway (basically, to keep the Red River navigable), she said she was unfamiliar with it even as her web site lauded the project. The second largest item, the Inner Harbor Canal Lock, has for years been derided for its obsolescence.

The mixed messages Landrieu gives out about her working knowledge of the things she puts in bills, in the tens of millions of dollars, raises the question about whether Landrieu would spend her time ineffectually grandstanding than trying to understand what she’s asking taxpayers to foot.

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