I don’t know why we should be surprised that Senator Inouye is so accomplished at adding pork to the federal budget. After all, if there’s one thing we love out here, it’s a luau. But even the most liberal spender might blanch at the provision that Inouye just attempted to slip into the notorious Omnibus Spending Bill:
NATIVE HAWAIIAN RECOGNITION STUDY AUTHORIZATION
SEC. 125. The Secretary of the Interior shall, with funds appropriated for fiscal year 2011, and in coordination with the State of Hawaii and those offices designated under the Hawaii State Constitution as representative of the Native Hawaiian community, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and the Attorney General of the United States, examine and make recommendations to Congress no later than September 30, 2011, on developing a mechanism for the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity and recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity as an Indian tribe within the meaning of Articles I and II of the Constitution.
Allow me to cut through the legislation-ese: This provision grants an unspecified amount of money for a study (made in cooperation with OHA and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands) on implementing the Akaka Bill constitutionally. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s a blatant pork project, one would be tempted to say something like, “Hey, since you’ve been pushing for this for years, don’t you think it would have been good to address this earlier?” However, given the nature of politics and the truer meaning of this project, perhaps the best response would be, “Hey, you sure have a lot of nerve funneling money to the two biggest supporters of this legislation to produce a ‘study’ that will support it.”