Republican-led committee spending loads of taxpayer cash on 'public hearings' in GOP donors' Oklahoma barn

Republican-led committee spending loads of taxpayer cash on 'public hearings' in GOP donors' Oklahoma barn
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Image via Shutterstock

The House Ways and Means Committee is heading to Yukon, Oklahoma, to hold a "public" hearing in the Clydesdale barn at Bob Funk's Express Limousine Ranch. Funk's big barn at the top of the hill overlooking the hometown of Garth Brooks is for his fleet of Clydesdales, with accommodations better than some family homes.

The pricey horses are dressed in coats and matching leg warmers and enjoy life in an Amish-raised barn fully heated and cooled for their pleasure. This is the "event space" that Republicans are gathering to continue their attack against President Joe Biden, the New York Times reported Sunday.

After holding an event in Petersberg, West Virginia, last month, Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) will bring the committee to his home state on the taxpayers' dime.

"The Judiciary Committee, for example, which has held one field hearing at the U.S. border with Mexico to criticize the Biden administration’s immigration policies and is planning more, requested a travel budget of $262,000 for this year," wrote the Times. "That is more than 30 times what the panel spent on travel last year. (In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic significantly curtailed travel, the Judiciary Committee spent about $85,000 on travel costs, according to a public disclosure form, one-third of what Republicans are planning this year.)"

So, taxpayers are giving Congress money to do their jobs, Congress then is paying one of their donors to use his event space, and then the donor is giving hefty cash to the Republican Party.

"The Democrats' out-of-control spending is running up our debt and hurting our economy," Hern ranted in a press release last month.

It "has a direct payoff for Republicans, allowing them to reward major donors with publicity and exposure for their businesses," the Times proclaimed.

The report explained it's the best way to score local media attention for their stories that would likely be ignored because they're in Washington. The problem is that Oklahoma isn't exactly a battleground state. While Joe Biden did better than former President Barack Obama in the state, Donald Trump did significantly better than then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), who is now a Utah senator.

Allegheny Wood Products hosted the first Ways and Means Committee hearing in West Virginia. The CEO, John Crites, gave the maximum amount of money possible to Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV), who serves on the committee. So, again, the committee pays Miller's donor for a space, the donor gives a contribution to Miller's campaign.

When the Times asked about the reason for the costly hearings, the committee aides claimed that there are witnesses that don't have the time or resources to travel to Washington. Instead of paying for a single plane ticket for a witness, the committee pays 400 times or more for the entire panel, aides, cameras, etc. to travel to the location and rent a space there.

Meanwhile, Republicans are arguing with Joe Biden about not increasing the debt ceiling due to government spending.

Read the full report at the New York Times.

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