Though Republicans came into power promising a moratorium on earmarks -- the special legislative deals that benefit a single company or interest group -- Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) explained to Republic Report that an array of bills he recently introduced that only benefit one or two companies in his district are not, in his opinion, earmarks.
Reed, who has led efforts to bring back earmarks in the form of special tariff-reductions and exemptions, defended his practice of handing out these specific giveaways to his campaign contributors. The GOP leadership banned the practice of earmarks to deter rampant pay-to-play corruption. Reed, however, says that these trade-related earmarks are important for creating jobs.
A search of recent bills introduced by Reed reveals that a majority of the legislation that he has introduced in Congress as an original co-sponsor have simply been earmark-tariffs for his campaign contributors. Republic Report conducted the following analysis:
-- Reed Provided Two Earmark-Tariffs To His Largest Campaign Contributor: Reed introduced H.R. 5487 and H.R. 5488, bills to suspend the duty on low expansion stoppers, lids, and low expansion laboratory glassware. Notably, the bills only benefit two firms in the entire country, one of which, Corning Incorporated, is Reed's largest lifetime contributor. Employees of Corning have given him $50,800 over the course of the this campaign cycle and last.
-- Fourteen Earmarks-Tariffs For A Single Lightbulb Company: Reed introduced fourteen earmarks that only benefit Philips Lighting Company, a subsidiary of the Dutch electronics firm Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. The company has contributed at least $1,750 to Reed's reelection campaign using its corporate political action committee. The company, which promotes Reed in videos circulated online, has spent at least $4.9 million on federal lobbying since 2009. In 2009, the executives at the firm were charged with providing bribes to government officials in Ohio.
-- Earmark-Tariffs For A Steel Company That Gave Him $6,000: Reed introduced H.R. 5467 & H.R. 5468, bills to "suspend temporarily the duty on vacuum-grade ferroniobium or ferrocolombium" and "on standard-grade ferroniobium or ferrocolombium." A disclosure filed shows that the bills would only benefit Nucor Corporation and/or Reference Metals, a Pennsylvania-based company. Nucor Corporation has given Reed at least $6,000 this campaign cycle, including one check for $1,000 on May 25 -- just over a week after he introduced these earmarks-tariffs. Another Reed earmark-tariff, H.R. 5469, would also benefit Nucor.