Another MA Boondoggle

Now that the Ted Williams tunnel,Lenny Zakim bridge and all the other projects that are collectively known as “The Big Dig” are for the most part done draining the public coffers(The wallets of commuters are another story) MA politicians are scrambling to find a new way to fleece the taxpayers. Enter the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. Sen. Kerry and Rep. Markey are earmarkers in chief for this project.

The amount of taxpayer money being funneled to a Dorchester shrine to the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has ballooned to $38 million and could rise to at least $68 million this year, infuriating watchdog groups who insist the project should be privately funded.

Williams and other critics called it “ridiculous” and an “egregious waste” that supporters want to siphon $28.9 million of the funding from the Defense Department budget alone. Nearly $19 million of that is already signed into law.

Building an edifice of glorification at a time of historic budget deficits is a terrible idea and doubly so when the funds used are being stripped from the defense budget. Presidential libraries don’t receive a penny from the federal treasury and the Kennedy Institute should live by the same rules. From the national archives website:

A Presidential library is constructed with private or non-Federal funds donated to non-profit organizations established usually for the express purpose of building a Presidential library and supporting its programs.

The papers and records created by, for, or about a President during his life and career comprise the holdings of all Presidential libraries.

Here’s what they have in mind to honor the late senator.

The institute will house Kennedy’s papers and memorabilia from more than four decades in the Senate. It will include a museum, reception area, library and classrooms, according to its Web site. It will host mock Senate sessions and programs for high school and college students and incoming senators and their staffs.

Sounds a lot like the function of a presidential library huh?

Considering that Ted Kennedy, “The Liberal Lion of the Senate” is an icon of the left the advocates of this project should have no problem funding it entirely with private contributions. One fundraising e-mail from moveon.org should do the trick. Heck, bigtime Democratic party donors like George Soros or John Paulson whose hedge fund made a cool couple of billion dollars colluding with Goldman Sachs could fund the entire project themselves. I wonder if this news nugget helps explain why this project is being funded via earmarks?  

The Democratic National Committee says it will spend more than $50 million in cash and other resources on the November elections, as the party struggles to limit expected losses in congressional races and possibly gubernatorial contests too.

The planned expenditure, worked out by top White House and congressional Democrats, would mark a significant investment in a non-presidential election.

Is it possible that the taxpayers are being forced to fund this project to keep the coffers of the DNC full? Maybe the Dems are afraid that their deep pocketed idealogical soulmates can’t afford to pay for a proper tribute/memorial/palace/learning center to Teddy and try to save the hides of politicians who ignored the will of the American people by voting for the federal takeover of health care at the same time.

From the only in Massachusetts files:

Kerry requested an additional $10 million late last week, his spokeswoman, Brigid O’Rourke, said in an e-mail Friday afternoon

Added Ellis: “Will this be a long-term commitment? Every year, will we be giving $10 million?”

About Paul Breau