McCain is touting his VP choice as a reformer who fought against earmarks (often called “pork”).
But the LA Times has found that when Palin was mayor of Wasilla, she made McCain’s “Pork List” three times for requesting questionable earmarks for her small Alaska town. Among the projects in McCain’s Pork List that Palin requested was $1 million for a communications center in Wasilla, which local law enforcement has said is redundant and creates confusion.
Records show that Palin — first as mayor of Wasilla and recently as governor of Alaska — was far from shy about pursuing hundreds of millions in earmarks for her town, her region, and her state. In fact, just this year Palin wrote in a newspaper column “The federal budget, in its various manifestations, is incredibly important to us, and congressional earmarks are one aspect of this relationship.”
Before Palin became mayor of Wasilla, the town received few if any earmarks, but Palin actively sought federal earmarks, even hiring a Washington lobbyist. It doesn’t help that the lobbyist was Ted Stevens’ former chief of staff (Stevens is currently under indictment for corruption), and was a close associate of convicted influence peddler Jack Abramoff.
In her speech when McCain announced Palin as his running mate, Palin said:
I’ve championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress thanks, but no thanks, on that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said, we’d build it ourselves.
The facts say otherwise. As a candidate for governor two years ago, Palin supported funding for the bridge. Later, when this became a political liability, Palin flip-flopped and killed the bridge project, but she still kept the earmark funds and spent them for other projects.
This year alone, Palin submitted to congress a list of proposed earmarks for Alaska worth almost $200 million.
UPDATE: Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group that tracks earmark spending, ranks Alaska first in earmark spending for this fiscal year.