Representative Patrick McHenry was among the leaders in fighting for disclosure of earmarks. Now that he's got what he wanted, he's defending one of his own:
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) was all over the House floor last week, bashing Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and other Democratic leaders for not doing enough to disclose member earmarks early in the appropriations process, as Democrats had promised when they took over the House in January. Republicans eventually got Democrats to back down and release the earmark requests -- read "pork" -- earlier than Obey had planned, so McHenry got what he wanted. And now McHenry will be forced to defend his $129,000 earmark, via the Small Business Administration, for Christmas trees.
Actually, the $129K is to go to the The Mitchell County Development Foundation, "a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating jobs and strengthening the educational system, as well as promoting tourism in Mitchell County."
The "Perfect Christmas Tree" part comes in because in 2003, author Gloria Houston donated the rights to her children's book, "The Perfect Christmas Tree" to the town of Spruce Pine, N.C. Spruce Pine and Mitchell Country have lost thousands of textile and manufacturing jobs over the last several years to foreign competition. Mitchell County used the money to fund some small business jobs for woodworkers and other craftsman.