Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

February 14, 2008

The Candidates And Earmarks

by Doug Mataconis

One of three people will be President of the United States on January 20, 2009, they’re all Senators, and today the Washington Post reports that they have quite different attitudes when it comes to earmarking:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure more than $340 million worth of home-state projects in last year’s spending bills, placing her among the top 10 Senate recipients of what are commonly known as earmarks, according to a new study by a nonpartisan budget watchdog group.

Working with her New York colleagues in nearly every case, Clinton supported almost four times as much spending on earmarked projects as her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), whose $91 million total placed him in the bottom quarter of senators who seek earmarks, the study showed.

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the likely GOP presidential nominee, was one of five senators to reject earmarks entirely, part of his long-standing view that such measures prompt needless spending.

As a campaign issue, earmarks highlight significant differences in the spending philosophies of the top three candidates. Clinton has repeatedly supported earmarks as a way to bring home money for projects, while Obama adheres to a policy of using them only to support public entities.

McCain is using his blanket opposition to earmarked spending as a regular line of attack against Clinton, even running an Internet ad mocking her $1 million request for a museum devoted to the Woodstock music festival. Obama has been criticized for using a 2006 earmark to secure money for the University of Chicago hospital where his wife worked until last year.

The full report is available at Taxpayer’s For Common Sense’s website, including a database listing all members of Congress and where they rank. Incidentally, Ron Paul ranked # 169 out of 435 members of the House.

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  • David

    Woot, no stupid earmarks for John Mccain, saving a few million dollars for the taxpayers. Helps cover some of the costs of the trillion dollar wars he promotes.

  • Norm Nelson

    There should be a website by the OMB to dispell the myth that earmarks increase the amount of money that the goverment steals from its citizens. Earmarks only direct spending to specific items. They are placed in budget bills after the fact and direct that part of the budget will go to specific pork programs. They don’t increse the total bottom line of the budget.

    Well i guess I should do some research before I type: http://earmarks.omb.gov/

  • http://www.taxpayer.net Demian

    Whether earmarks “don’t increase the total bottom line of the budget” is debatable. For example, how many extra F-22s that WERE NOT not requested by the Air Force should we build?

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