Energy secretary ladles pork into swing states as election approaches

$36 million for a power plant in Minnesota. $100 million for a clean-coal project in Pennsylvania. $235 million for a power plant in Florida. $19.7 million for a clean-coal facility in New Mexico. Being a swing state is a profitable vocation during an election season. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has been traveling to hotly contested regions like a federal Santa Claus, his bag filled with environmentally questionable pork. And he is not alone: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Treasury Secretary John Snow, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and numerous Education Department officials have all been traveling heavily in purple states, on the taxpayer’s dime, “celebrating” this program and doling out money to that one. It’s not unusual to see these kinds of shenanigans as an election approaches — Clinton was no saint in this department — but, says Deb Callahan of the League of Conservation Voters, “the Bush administration might have set a new standard for pre-election pork.”