Calling him the “Prince of Pork”, an ethics watchdog group says U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has funneled more than $236 million in federal funds to several non-profit organizations that he created.
In March, Rogers swore off earmarks and joined a GOP pledge to cut spending and reduce the deficit, saying America was at a crossroad. As political observers noted, the 14-term congressman was a well-known defender of steering federal funding back to his district, but like many longtime GOP leaders (re: U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.) he publicly denounced the practice after Tea Party candidates were elected to Congress.
After a three-month investigation, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington claims that Rogers has found ways to circumvent the earmark ban, and has established a non-profit “empire”.
Rep. Rogers sits at the center of an interconnected web that includes Kentucky nonprofit groups, a bank he partially owns, and several companies he has supported with federal money. These entities have strong ties to Rep. Rogers and to each other, and help extend the congressman’s influence in his district.