Earmarks are budget designations which promise funds to various projects or services. In just one search I found nearly $1,000,000 or more earmarked for both New Jersey and Chicago Make a Splash Foundation programs. That's like having each member of USA Swimming, all 300,000-plus kids, donating $3.00-to-$5.00 each.
Congressman Rothman of New Jersey in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010: USA Swimming Foundation Make-a-Splash Program to provide at-risk youth with after school programs in Berkley Heights, $400,000
Congressman Jesse L. Jackson Jr - Chicago Youth Development program: The USA Swimming Foundation seeks funding to expand the City of Chicago to provide after-school swim lessons to at-risk students. The program would reduce drowning which is disproportionate among African-American and Hispanic youth and also provides a positive activity during a time that is often unsupervised. $450,000
Rep Congressman Albio Sires - New Jersey since November Project Title: New Jersey Make a Splash Program - Recipient: USA Swimming Foundation The funding would be used to provide after-school recreational programming for inner city, lower income youth in New Jersey. The USA Swimming Foundation would develop and implement a quality, multi-level learn-to-swim Make a Splash program in Ashbury Park, Bayonne, Jersey City, Newark and Plainfield, New Jersey. $456,000
So, I then wondered how they arranged such a windfall earmark from the US Government. It turns out USA Swimming also hired a lobbying firm in 2010 by the name FaegreBD Consulting (formerly B&D Consulting). This firm charged USA Swimming $27,000 and set four lobbyist lose to lobby the Center for Disease Control for a piece of their budgetary pie. That's how I read it, your mileage may vary.
What does this all mean? Well, I am surprised that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) paid for stuff like this when they could just go straight to the city governments themselves and work out the best programs needed right there at the pool deck level. Why give the money to a intermediary in a town called Colorado Springs to dole out to cities in New Jersey and Chicago?