Palin’s Pork Problem
“I’ve championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.” – Gov. Sarah Palin on August 29, 2008, in her first speech as McCain’s vice presidential pick
Sarah Palin might not be the kind of reformer that the McCain campaign has claimed. We’ve already learned that her claims of opposing the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” weren’t entirely true. And as today’s Los Angeles Times reports, Palin’s pursuit of pork-barrel spending has been criticized in the past by McCain himself:
Three times in recent years, McCain’s catalogs of “objectionable” spending have included earmarks for this small Alaska town [of Wasilla], requested by its mayor at the time – Sarah Palin.
The Times reveals that from 2000 to 2003, Palin’s town of Wasilla received $11.9 million in earmarks, including:
• A $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project
• $1 million in a 2002 spending bill for an emergency communications center in town – one that local law enforcement has said is redundant and creates confusion
• $450,000 set aside for an agricultural processing facility in Wasilla that was requested during Palin’s tenure as mayor and cleared Congress soon after she left office in 2002
Nevertheless, the McCain camp claims that Palin’s pursuit of earmarks actually makes her the perfect person to stop them:
Taylor Griffin, a McCain campaign spokesman, said that when Palin became mayor in 1996, “she faced a system that was broken. Small towns like Wasilla in Alaska depended on earmarks to take care of basic needs. . . . That was something that Gov. Palin was alarmed about and was one of the formative experiences that led her toward the reform-oriented stance that she has taken as her career has progressed.”
Palin, he said, was “disgusted” that small towns like hers were dependent on earmarks.
Yet Palin’s “disgust” at earmarks isn’t reflected in her actions as governor:
This year she submitted to Congress a list of Alaska projects worth $197.8 million, including $2 million to research crab productivity in the Bering Sea and $7.4 million to improve runway lighting at eight Alaska airports.
As the AP reports, the $197.8 million breaks down to about $295 in pork per person in Alaska – over eight times more than the national average of $34 per person.Click here for reuse options!
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