Sunday, November 13, 2005

Senator Chuck Grassley, The Weasel

A reliable reader from Marion emails to say that the Cedar Rapids Gazette has a lead editorial today about the Rainforest project that says Senator Chuck Grassley is writing a bill which will not only give David Oman and the other con-artists two years to come up with matching funds for the $50 million $47.1 million left, but Grassley's also changing the focus of the project from just the Coralville location to all of Iowa. Here's a transcript:
Congress will require the project to raise $50 million before spending the federal government's $50 million, which was being drawn upon to pay project director David Oman's $175,000 salary and other planning expenses. But new legislation also would specify that the project could be built anywhere in Iowa, not solely in Coralville.

That has added fuel to speculation that project planners have been meeting secretly with city officials from Dubuque, something now acknowledged by Dubuque leaders. And that, in turn, might be the last straw for some Coralville officials who have been frustrated with evasive and deceptive answers Oman has given to serious and persistent questions about the project.
This is the first that we thought we've heard of a change in where the money can be spent. This didn't seem to be reported or highlighted in any of the other news stories published this week.

We have been unable to find anything in Thursday, November 10th's Senate Daily Digest or anywhere else on the Senate web site. Naturally, newspapers don't bother to provide the bill numbers. There's nothing like an ignorant public to keep the pork flowing and the backs a'slappin'!

Upon re-reading this Iowa City Press-Citizen story on Wednesday we understand what the Cedar Rapids Gazette is talking about. This section below is what the ICPC quoted from the Grassley legislation (emphasis ours):
"is provided for the Iowa Environmental and Education project to be located in Iowa. No further funds may be disbursed by the Department of Energy until a one hundred percent non-Federal cash and in-kind match of the appropriated Federal funds has been secured for the project by the non-Federal project sponsor: Provided, That the match shall exclude land donations: Provided further, That if the match is not secured by the non-Federal project sponsor by December 1, 2007, the remaining Federal funds shall cease to be available for the Iowa Environmental and Education project."
The highlighted section above is a big difference in wording compared to what Cityview Des Moines said in their Civic Skinny column on October 20th about the original appropriation:
And lastly, even though there have been rumblings about possibly relocating the all-but-dried-up rain forest idea from Coralville to Des Moines, if anyone involved would bother to look at the federal pork legislation regarding the project, they would notice it calls for the behemoth to be built only in Johnson County.
We tried looking for the amendment that Grassley snuck into the bill that was passed on January 22, 2004, but it's almost impossible to locate it to confirm the wording. (Searching for Congressional legislation really sucks. Somebody call Google and index that thing. - Ed.)

If the Cedar Rapids Gazette editorial is correct, and it probably is otherwise why would they mention it, then Senator Chuck Grassley has shown that he's a complete weasel. Yeah, yeah, we already know he's a fauxscal conservative, but if he failed to tell newspapers that the focus of the $50 million $47.1 million pork grant to David Oman and company was changing from Coralville to the entire State of Iowa then that's just plain dirty. No wonder the Coralville City Council is upset! Why aren't newspapers talking about this more?

Oman and his gang of con-artists have had six years to come up with private, non-taxpayer money, and they haven't had any donations. Where does Grassley think this other $50 million is going to come from? Oman spelled it out clearly the other day: $20 million from Vision Iowa (Iowa taxpayers), and at least $20 million from Coralville taxpayers, and a $40 million "loan" against the land that Coralville taxpayers paid for and would be donating to the project.