Taxpayer Rip-Off of the Week: $2.4 Million for Mark Twain Museum

When it came to Congressional audacity, Mark Twain had a lot of witty lines, but even Mark Twain would have been speechless if he knew Congress was wasting America’s hard-earned tax dollars on his own personal home. Over the past six years, Mark Twain’s Hartford, Conn., home received $2,400,000 for a variety of renovation projects, including $200,000 from this year’s Transportation Bill (H.R. 3058). To add insult to injury, $1,700,000 of the total amount was slipped into the bills “behind the closed doors of conference committees,” according to Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

For an admission price of $13, visitors to the Mark Twain House and Museum can enjoy a guided tour of Twain’s house, including the Clemens family library. At the museum, visitors can learn more about Twain’s life by watching a biography from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns and by perusing some of Twain’s manuscripts, photos, and artifacts. According to the museum’s website, over 60,000 visitors come a year from all over the country as well as from more than 70 countries around the world.

Unfortunately, it appears that Mark Twain hit the nail on the head when he said “No man’s … property is safe while Congress is in session.” Mark Twain uttered those words in the 19th century; one can only imagine the scathing words Mr. Twain would have uttered if he knew Congress was spending $27 billion on outrageous pork-barrel projects, including renovations on his Hartford home.

The amazing thing is that our representatives are not even ashamed of their reckless behavior. It is unbelievable to listen to politicians, like my opponent, bragging about how much pork they bring home even as their colleagues are being sentenced to jail for pork-related corruption. This kind of behavior has got to stop, and if the taxpayers of America have anything to say about it, it will.

Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee voted in favor of spending tax dollars on Mark Twain’s house (Senate Roll Call Vote #264) on October 20, 2005.