If the House ethics committee doesn't investigate the Coconut Road earmark that someone slipped in to a 2005 highway bill at the behest of then-transportation chair Rep. Don Young (R-AK), then a watchdog group may file a lawsuit to get to the bottom of it.
The non-partisan Taxpayers for Common Sense called on the House ethics committee to review how $10 million listed for a highway widening project ended up making its way to a project benefiting a developer and major Young campaign contributor after
both chambers voted on the bill. But despite the fact that the change seems a blatant violation of House rules, chances are the infamously inert ethics committee won't jump to action.
Watchdog group Public Citizen told The Hill
that it would consider taking the matter before a judge if the ethics committee doesn't act.
The group once filed a similar lawsuit after the Senate clerk inserted a typo into a budget-reconciliation bill that cut $39 billion from health, education and other programs. Public Citizen lost before a U.S. District Court in D.C., which upheld the typo as law. The group is appealing the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Craig Holman of Public Citizen said the Coconut Road scandal might make for a better case because the edit appears deliberate.
âThis is a very obvious change,â Holman said. âThis is not a typo. This is actually dealing with $10 million for such an unpopular project that the Florida County doesnât even want it.â