04/20/2011 04:16 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2011

The GOP's License Plate Slush Fund Agenda

Last November, Republicans rode a Tea Party wave into power by promising to keep the government out of people's lives. What exactly does that mean? Helping kids afford college? No! Regulate harmful emissions to protect the air we breathe? Not a chance! Requiring insurance companies to cover kids with pre-existing conditions? Don't make me laugh!

How about using government to enrich their political friends? Well, that's a role for government that Republicans can get behind. 

This morning, the Republican-controlled Arizona State Legislature sent Governor Jan Brewer legislation that would create a Tea Party license plate. Unlike the vanity Tea Party license plates of other states, the Arizona plates would serve as a conduit to direct $17 of the annual $25 fee to Tea Party groups. There is of course no proposal for a comparable license plate to fund progressive groups. (For the record, I would not support such a use of government resources for groups on either side of the political spectrum.) 

It's an unabashed Tea Party political pay-off. Thanks for campaigning for us, here's a wad of cash collected by the government just for you.

So, the next political attack ad you see on TV questioning the President's birth certificate could be funded from a generous grant from the State of Arizona.

In response, I will introduce legislation, the License Plate Political Slush Fund Prevention Act, when Congress reconvenes. Under my bill, governors would need to certify that they are not using license plate fees to launder and funnel money to political organizations, or risk losing 15 percent of their federal highway funding. I challenge Speaker Boehner to bring it to the floor. Let's see where Republicans really stand on small government and political slush funds.

Read more on my website -

Twitter and Facebook Contest

What should the slogan be on a Tea Party license plate? Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Tweet me your ideas with the hashtag #teapartyplates, or post a comment on Facebook. I'll announce the winner next week and send the winner a bouquet of white carnations.