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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Earmark abusers jump on earmark reform wagon

The Club for Growth notes that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have signed on to DeMint-McCain earmark moratorium. While this will likely force passage of the bill, it will also be praised as a sound political move, as it will steal the issue from McCain (who is a long-time opponent of earmarks). I disagree – I believe this will only highlight Sens. Obama and Clinton complicity in earmark abuse and make them seem like hypocrites.

The bill implies that earmark process is broken and open to exploitation, but Obama enjoyed earmarks—mostly for Chicago museums that didn't need them (though to his credit, has championed earmark transparency and been open about his own requests)—while Clinton was a primary exploiters of earmarks, obtaining the most, by far, of any presidential candidate.

Since the "Bridge to Nowhere," perhaps the most infamous earmark was for the Woodstock museum. While Rep. Jeff Flake and others consistently offer amendments to strip specific earmarks that are almost always defeated, the Woodstock museum was one egregious enough that the Senate defunded it. Note: that earmark was sponsored by Hillary Clinton.

Clinton voting to reform the earmark process is as reasonable as her sponsoring legislation to prohibit sitting First Ladies from running for the Senate in a state they don't actually live in.

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