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A Fitting Monument

by @ 7:53 pm on December 3, 2008. Filed under Politics, Washington DC

Introducing the brand-new Capitol Visitors Center:

To understand how the building earned the unofficial title of The Anatomy of a Congressional Boondoggle, it is necessary to go back four years, to Nov. 30, 2004, when The Washington Post published a story on a report from the Congressional Accountability Office.

The report found that construction of the center “could cost as much as $558.6 million before it is completed in 2006, which would represent a $185 million price increase and a nearly two-year delay in the opening date since work began.”

In a report made a year earlier, the GAO also noted that Congress was partly to blame for the overruns because “lawmakers had frequently changed the center’s design – adding security measures and office space, for example – while failing to adequately track the associated costs.”


When the overruns were again revised a year later, in 2004, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., seemed to talk about everything but congressional involvement in the increased budget: “I just think it looks like it’s gotten out of control from the architect’s standpoint.” In fact, Congress had passed an omnibus spending measure calling for the replacement of the architect’s chief operating officer and directing the GAO to see if the architect’s duties could be better performed by private contractors.

Three years later, Kingston had accepted Congress as part of the problem. “Members [of Congress] delegated this project to their staffs – there was no adult supervision,” Kingston told Time magazine in 2007. “And the whole thing is an example of wants vs. needs. Do we really need three more auditoriums in Washington? The largest cafeteria in Washington? A tunnel that links the CVC gift shop to the Library of Congress’ gift shop?”

Completely unnecessary, much larger than it needs to be, and way over budget.

Sounds like Congress has memorialized itself perfectly.

H/T: The Liberty Papers

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