Thursday, July 31, 2008

McCain still lying about his earmarks

One of the myths that John McCain has pawned off on the public most successfully is the one about his inveterate hostility to earmarks. For years McCain has been claiming that he never has put a single earmark in any bill.

"I have never asked for nor received a single earmark or pork barrel project for my state..."

Here he was praising himself last December as the NYT was about to break the Vicki Iseman lobbying story:

"I've never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special-interest group — that's a clear, 24-year record."

On July 29 in a speech to employees at the Wagner Equipment Co. in Aurora CO, McCain told the earmark lie again:

Next he moved on to talking about how he would never allow any "pork barrel" spending to be put into any bill he would sign. He made a claim that he has never (note the absolute here) put any kind of earmark in a bill in his time in the Congress or Senate.

You see McCain's assertion about earmarks parroted all over. The Myth has such a grip on the public that The Google doesn't know of anyone ever using the expression 'McCain inserted an earmark' - until now, that is.

However as BarbinMD has documented repeatedly, in his eagerness to shower federal money on constituents and cronies McCain does indeed resort to earmarks. For example, McCain slipped a $ 14.3 million earmark in the 2004 Defense authorization bill (from which it jumped into the appropriations bill) to purchase land near an Arizona Air Force base. The earmark had not been approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee nor requested by the President nor part of Pentagon planning. From Roll Call (subscription required):

"Even though this project is in clear violation of the McCain rule because it was not authorized nor requested, we are happy to provide the funds at his request and the request of other members of the Arizona delegation," said House Appropriations Committee spokesman John Scofield.

Scofield also noted that the provision may violate other tenets of McCain’s "pork" rules because the purpose of the funds — to acquire land to prevent the encroachment of residential development near the base’s live-fire range — is not included in Defense’s long-term strategic plans and may not be achievable within a five-year time frame.........................

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