The 10 Worst Congressmen

Posted Oct 17, 2006 11:53 AM

9. BIN LADEN'S BEST FRIEND
HAL ROGERS (R-KY.)

No congressman has single-handedly put America at greater risk than Rogers. As chairman of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security, he has placed the interests of his own district ahead of defending the nation from Al Qaeda, prompting even the archconservative National Review to call him a "congressional disgrace."

Since the 9/11 attacks, Rogers has abused his position to steer production of a system designed to enhance airport security to a factory in Corbin, Kentucky. The trouble is, the factory wasn't equipped to produce the tamperproof biometric ID cards favored by security experts. So Rogers forced the government to spend $4 million to test the factory's technology -- steering some of the work to a tiny company that hired his son. When the factory flunked the test, Rogers delayed the process again, demanding that prototypes for new cards be built in Kentucky.

Rogers also steered a no-bid contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to a trade group with no relevant experience in airport security -- after the group paid for Rogers to take six trips to Hawaii and one to Ireland. "It's as if he grabbed people off the street and said, 'Hey, would you manage a critical homeland-security program? No experience required,' ?says Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

Complaints by experienced contractors ultimately forced Rogers to open the project to competitive bidding -- further delaying the improvements to airport security until next year at the earliest.

TIM DICKINSON


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