On September 20th, Congressman Buck McKeon, R-California, said this on the floor of the House about the need for earmark reform:
"Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent and who is spending it. It's amazing how the 'culture of excess' can change when the public eye is examining the process, so we need an earmark system that is open, honest and laced with scrutiny. For too long, Democrats have been filtering millions into their districts with little to no public attention."
Tonight, we answer Congressman McKeon's call for transparency in earmark requests, specifically by questioning his call for a Federal taxpayer-supported museum devoted to ... the mule. Of all the earmark, pork-barrel spending stories we've brought you over this past year, this one is has just galloped to the front of the herd.
McKeon wants $50,000 of your money so the town of Bishop, California (pop. 3,575), can explore the possibility of building a mule museum. Of course, you probably already know that Bishop is the self-proclaimed "Mule Capitol of the World," and when the rest of the country is celebrating Memorial Day, the good folks of Bishop are hosting their annual "Mule Days Celebration." McKeon must be so caught up in the spirit of the thing, that he's forgotten that he actually called Democrats wasteful spenders.
Of course we wanted to ask Congressman McKeon some questions about this, and, of course, the congressman who says he wants an "earmark system that is open, honest and laced with scrutiny" wouldn't talk to us. To be precise, his taxpayer-supported press secretary wouldn't even return our calls.
Tonight on "360," we sit down with House Republican Leader John Boehner. He isn't in charge of Congress, but he is supposed to have some control over his fellow Republicans. Does he think $50,000 for a mule museum is a good idea? We'll ask him tonight, but why don't you let us know your thoughts right now.
-- By Drew Griffin, CNN Correspondent