McCaul Swears Off Earmarks

Caught with his hand in $20 million cookie jar, congressman swears he'll be good from now on

Rep. Michael McCaul, whose District 10 stretches from West Lake Hills to suburban Houston, told the Houston Chronicle yesterday that he's giving up the earmarks habit.

"The system is broken and it needs to be fixed," McCaul told the Houston daily. "A majority of these earmarks wouldn't get through Congress if they were given the best test of sunlight. Until they put more transparency into the system, I am not going to play the game."

Of course, McCaul's newfound piety comes after that paper pointed out that he sponsored or co-sponsored some $20 million in earmarks in the current budget year. Among the earmarks: a $245,000 request to set up a closed-circuit television system at the Houston Zoo so hospitalized children can interact with the animals. That's one earmark for which McCaul wouldn't apologize, and he played the biggest card in the deck to defend it: "You are talking about children with cancer."

Smack! Back off, you heartless penny-pincher!

McCaul, whose 55% support in the 2006 race was the lowest of any incumbent winning re-election, faces a challenge this November from Austin/Brenham lawyer Larry Joe Doherty, who is easily the best-financed Democrat McCaul has faced during in his six-year political career.

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