October 22nd, 2010
05:34 PM ET

Center for Public Integrity: Scores of Recovery Act opponents sought money out of public view

The Center for Public Integrity

Rep. Pete Sessions, the firebrand conservative from Dallas, Texas, has relentlessly assailed the Democratic-passed stimulus law as a wasteful "trillion dollar spending spree" that was "more about stimulating the government and rewarding political allies than growing the economy and creating jobs."

But that didn’t stop the Republican lawmaker from reaching his hand out behind the scenes to seek stimulus money for the suburb of Carrollton after the camera lights went dark and the GOP campaign against the 2009 stimulus law quieted down.

The affluent city’s rail project is “shovel-ready,” Sessions wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in February, urging his cabinet agency to give “full and fair consideration” to the city’s request for $81 million in stimulus money, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Ironically, his letter suggested the project would create jobs, undercutting the very public argument he has made against the stimulus.

“Carrollton’s project will create jobs, stimulate the economy, improve regional mobility and reduce pollution,” the lawmaker wrote.

When asked about the letter, Sessions suggested to the Center that he did not want his “strong, principled objection to the bill to prevent me” from getting his congressional district its share of the massive spending pot.

Sessions was hardly alone.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Mary Bennett

    Vote them out...

    October 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  2. Igor

    Great program. I wanted to point out a comment made by one of your guest. He basically said, "deficit spending doesn't create jobs, nor stimulate the economy, it merely reallocates jobs and money to other programs." That is a huge oversimplification and not necessarily true. Is he an economist or an authority in this subject... ...to be making such statement? He should do his homework, give good explanations, present facts and expert opinions, and stick to his craft. .

    October 23, 2010 at 3:37 am |
  3. Vision

    I am shocked by these revelations – Barak and his administration have been so accused with regards to the stimulus. Now see the flip flopping of the right, How can we trust the repubican party? The Democrats need to use these in their campaign – integrity, integrity where is it? Now for them the stimulus was the worst thing.

    October 23, 2010 at 2:27 am |
  4. Rick in TX

    a high school glee club has 40 members. they decide to vote on what the meal will be at the end of the year party. 23 vote on sushi at a fancy japanese restaurant. the other 17 vote for more reasonably priced burgers. sushi wins the vote. are the 17 who voted for burgers expected to go hungry or not attend the party? by this logic, i am not represented by president obama because i didn't vote for him. it doesnt work like that. the stimulus money is for the entire country. every congressman and senator's job is to serve his or her constituency. with the stimulus money going out one way or another, no one is immune to proposing where it goes, no matter how they argued during the vote.

    October 23, 2010 at 2:20 am |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    Your answer Mr Sessions is a two faced and deceitful response!!
    As and elected official I expect you to stand by your vote against stimulus because the cost to the national debt was too high.
    In your letter for stimulus funds you claim all the advantages of stimulus that democrats said would result and then you now claim Stimulus does not help employment, infrastructre or the local economy. Youalso say your project will reduce pollutionakey part of Dem logic for stimulus.
    If thats politics to you I all it a disingenuos idelogical disgrace and no wonder the voters think politics is no good on both sides.
    No need to feel alone a huge part of your fellow Republicans did exactly the same including the Leader McConnell!!

    October 23, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  6. Jeannie

    Anderson: Thanks so much for continously shedding light upon these darker events that those with questionable character prefer the world not see. Knowledge is truly power and if we are to make intelligent choices, the education and information you provide us with is greatly needed all the more.You are the best of the best in journalistic excellence. Thank you again.

    October 22, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  7. Ken Atzenhoefer

    Too bad that this isn't in all US papers for the people to read. I would bet that the Tea Party peole and most Republicans would say that you are not telling the truth.
    It is very hypocritcal of these politicians to complain about these programs, and then get to the head of the line to get their handouts.
    I think there are also to many Tea Party people complaining about Government in their live and then they go and collect their Social Security checks, and Medicare benefits. Hypocrits.

    October 22, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  8. Bee

    Well then, there must be a policy to keep them honest now should there? If politician A is against something, then government reserves the right to deny them if they're trying to do what they're so against. Don't want healthcare? No problemo! Die! Don't want social security? No problemo! Starve!

    October 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  9. Richard Niles

    "Seeking money out of public view?" Say it ain't so!

    October 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  10. Kevin D.

    Pathetic, how can these people sleep at night?

    October 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    Hypocrites everyone of them. Anyone that voted against the stimulus should have been excluded from receiving any monies for their district. Maybe that way they would have worked more positively with the rest of Congress to help the country get back on its feet. They are disgusting.

    October 22, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  12. Kenneth Close

    My basement is shovel ready and all I need is $10K & a shovel.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  13. Media Mann

    Great story. It's time the comfort zone for these hypocrites be shaken up and if you dig deep enough you'll find that that most are out for themselves and are the real traitors to democracy. Most are carrying water for special interest.

    October 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  14. Todd Junkin

    Rachel Maddow has been reporting this for months. Thank you for covering this important story.

    October 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm |