We have all seen the images of Bobby Jindal, the sitting governor of the great state of Louisiana, traveling around his state awarding stimulus funds as if he were writing those giant checks on his own personal bank account. The media has pounced on those very images of Jindal because of his loud disapproval of Obama's stimulus plan. Not only did Governor Jindal disapprove of the amount of money the government voted to spend to stimulate the economy, he initially refused the stimulus funds that would be coming to his state, only to back off that threat and receive the funds with open arms (and larger-than-life checks). Clearly the hypocrisy stems from his initial refusal of the funds that he is now more than happy to hand out at little ceremonies across the state.
Bobby Jindal was the poster boy for stimulus hypocrisy. That is until Congressman Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) "lauded" an announcement by the White House today that the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Energy were awarding $2.2 billion in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to 805 recipients across the country, a list that includes Idaho Power and the Spokane-based Avista Utilities. The Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) are funded by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
In simple English, the money being awarded that Minnick is praising today as "great news for Idaho" and is proudly attributing to the hard work of the Idaho delegation, is stimulus money.
Why does it matter if the money comes from stimulus funds? Because Walt Minnick and every other member of the Idaho delegation voted against the stimulus plan. Not only did Walt Minnick vote against the stimulus bill, he consistently votes against earmarks as a way of stating that he is a principled fiscal conservative and does not believe the role of government to include handouts of any sort...
...That is, unless those handouts are beneficial to the state he hails from and beneficial to the constituents who elected him.
What's the difference between Congressman Minnick and his counterpart here in the second district, Mike Simpson? Congressman Simpson voted against the stimulus on party lines and doesn't masquerade as a fiscal conservative when it is convenient. Simpson routinely "brings home the pork" and doesn't pretend to be against earmarks. Where you might catch Simpson being against the stimulus before he was for it, you will never catch Mike Simpson refusing government funds if he thinks it will benefit his district. When the TEA Party protests were in full swing in this state, the protesters praised Minnick for his stand against the stimulus plan and they made it very clear that they do not appreciate the earmarks Simpson constantly secures for the state, but you didn't hear one of them saying they didn't like the money the federal government is pouring into the INL and other southern Idaho projects. The difference between Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson? Mike Simpson doesn't pretend to be something he is not.
Will we be seeing Congressman Minnick arrive at Avista with a poster-sized check for $20 million and at Idaho Power with a check for $47 million? Best guess? Bobby Jindal better watch his back, his position as poster-boy for stimulus hypocrisy may very well be on Minnick's radar.