Congressman Jeff Flake is waging a one-man war against earmarks, slice the size of the federal budget and scare colleagues away from pet projects. When the Arizona Republican rises to speak, the Los Angeles Times reports, the whole House “grimaces”—bracing for an attack on the pork barrel. His efforts have begun to pay off, as leaders say they’ll cut down on earmarks and make the appropriations process more transparent.
Flake may be feared, but he’s also widely respected for his non-partisan criticisms; he was an early backer of booting Tom DeLay. And the earmark gadfly is not without a sense of humor: While lambasting an earmark to fund grape genetics research, Flake wondered when Congress would fund “mold research on gourmet cheese, or soil research for truffle farming.”