Palin’s federal funds requests: earmarks or legislation? Update: Palin’s cover letter on funding request

posted at 9:30 am on September 15, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The Wall Street Journal throws a dash of cold water, and a deluge of ambiguity, on the reformer status of Sarah Palin today.  However, they confuse and conflate earmarks with funding legislation, and in the process never clearly report whether or not Palin’s anti-earmark pledge is supportable or not.  Palin’s administration asked for over $450 million in federal funding, but the question here is how:

Last week, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain said his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, hadn’t sought earmarks or special-interest spending from Congress, presenting her as a fiscal conservative. But state records show Gov. Palin has asked U.S. taxpayers to fund $453 million in specific Alaska projects over the past two years.

These projects include more than $130 million in federal funds that would benefit Alaska’s fishing industry and an additional $9 million to help Alaska oil companies. She also has sought $4.5 million to upgrade an airport on a Bering Sea island that has a year-round population of less than 100. …

During an appearance Friday on ABC’s “The View,” Sen. McCain said Gov. Palin shared his views, and hasn’t sought congressional earmarks. “Not as governor she hasn’t,” he said.

In fact, in the current fiscal year, she is seeking $197 million for 31 projects, the records show. In the prior year, her first year in office, she sought $256 million for dozens more projects ranging from research on rockfish and harbor-seal genetics to rural sanitation and obesity prevention. By comparison, her predecessor, Gov. Frank Murkowski, sought more than $350 million in his last year in office.

The level of federal spending requests have dropped under Palin’s administration both years, but quite obviously she still puts in requests for Congressional cash.  The question that the WSJ never really answers is how those requests come to Congress.  If they come in earmark form, then the McCain campaign has some explaining to do about its rhetoric the past three weeks.   If not, then this is a non-story, and in fact shows Palin weaning Alaska off of Washington’s largesse.

Earmarks are not equivalent to all federal spending, as McCain himself notes.  If these requests did not come in earmark form, then Congress has the opportunity to vote directly on spending the money in Alaska based on the legitimacy of the projects.  Earmarks, on the other hand, get slipped into bills without such Congressional scrutiny and are almost impossible to remove regardless of the uselessness of the project.

Also, it’s pretty easy to miss the fact that Governors can’t earmark, because they aren’t members of Congress.  Palin would have to rely on Ted Stevens, Lisa Murkowski, and Don Young to propose legislation for her funding requests, and none of these three have any hesitation to use earmarks rather than legislation.  Palin technically could legitimately say that she didn’t apply for earmarks on projects even if the Alaskan contingent used that process for their state’s requests, although it would be somewhat deceptive to try that as an argument.

The WSJ needs to report a little more specifically on the mechanism for these requests, and how Palin promulgated them.  The fact that Governors request federal spending shouldn’t surprise anyone, but the McCain/Palin claims on earmarks should be tested properly by the media.  At least the direction of federal spending requests have gone in the right direction, and the McCain/Palin team might be better advised to make that argument rather than apply Palin for earmark sainthood, which weakens McCain’s own heroic stand on that issue.

Update: It looks like Laura Meckler took her data from Alaska’s OMB list of federal appropriations requests.  This underscores the point that Palin didn’t ask for earmarks, but for federal funding for projects, which could have come from normal appropriations requests as well.  The mechanism gets chosen by Alaska’s legislators, not by the Governor.

Update II: Here’s the link to Senator Stevens’ site that lists “earmark requests”.   It has an extensive PDF file of funding requests from the State of Alaska, but still does not show these as specific requests for funding through the earmark mechanism — although, again, given Stevens’ proclivities, it would hardly surprise anyone that he attempted to fund them this way.

In fact, the cover letter from Palin’s office makes a mention of this:

In preparing these requests, the State has been mindful of congressional [sic] concerns about budget deficits and earmarks.  Accordingly, the total number of requests has been significantly reduced from previous years.  Approximately two-thirds of the requests involve programs that have been funded previously.

Nothing in this letter says that Palin wanted these funded through the earmark mechanism, and in fact specifically noted the “concerns” about the abuse of earmarks.  Stevens could just as easily have presented this in appropriations legislation.  Stevens made that decision, not Palin.


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It’s all about transparency.

a capella on September 15, 2008 at 9:33 AM

If these were earmarked fund, then yes, she got some ‘splaining to do.

ManlyRash on September 15, 2008 at 9:36 AM

That is what I was thinking.

Three Million dollars for a Ketchup Research facility tacked onto a Defense bill is a different animal than a funding request.

Elizabetty on September 15, 2008 at 9:38 AM

In her interview with Gibson, she said the requests were subject to the light of day and not backroom deals. This makes me think they were legitimate funding requests. If so, Gibson surely knows the difference as well and was just trying to trip her up.

Kafir on September 15, 2008 at 9:39 AM

the dems/media are trying to neutralize this issue(because of Obama/Biden’s shady record) to confuse it to no end so McCain/Palin don’t get an advantage and look like liars.

typical and pathetic

jp on September 15, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Slightly Off Topic: Ed, how do the currently unfolding events on Wall Street effect the economic and fiscal debate in the campaign. How should McCain-Palin be addressing this?

D0WNT0WN on September 15, 2008 at 9:40 AM

it’s still pretty clear she CUT earmarks significantly in AK… nothing in this story is very surprising, she cut the number and cost of earmarks in AK, but there were still some not so great earmark requests. Well, you don’t turn around the porkiest state overnight. Is there another governor in America that has cut earmark requests? anyone?

thankful on September 15, 2008 at 9:40 AM

question is, how much of this did she pursue and to get it they attached the Earmark/Pork to some obscure bill.

jp on September 15, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Palin is portrayed as a reformer and a cutter. She has indeed done a notable amount of both. That line of promotion for her has gotten her support. Hussein has already hit her on this.

Note this, note the distinction between “earmark” and “legislation”, and be prepared to explain. That’s all we can do.

Moving to next article.

Tommygun on September 15, 2008 at 9:42 AM

I do expect better clarity in reporting from the Wall Street Journal.

NeighborhoodCatLady on September 15, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Also, it’s pretty easy to miss the fact that Governors can’t earmark, because they aren’t members of Congress.

That’s all that needs to be said.

Every governor in the country seeks money for projects, calling them earmarks without following up on the story is irresponsible.

reaganaut on September 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Why should a governor be criticized for trying to get her state’s money back from the federal government? Would it be better for that money to go to some other state?

The real crime here is that states have to go to the federal govt hat-in-hand to get their money back. That’s the corrupt situation we need to rid ourselves of.

Kenrod on September 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM

I hope that the McCain/Palin team will keep it honest and choose integrity over strategy. We’ll see… but it will be interesting to see if and how the truth comes out about this earmarking. At least we know the main man on the ticket… MCCAIN (remember him? :)… has wholeheartedly decried earmark spending.

bethany on September 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Actually, with the Russian situation the way it is, it probably is a good idea to send federal money to Alaska. Especially because as Governor Palin explained to Charlie Gibson, Russia is Alaska’s neighbor and in fact, you can see part of Russia from Alaska. It would have been nice for Charlie to let her finish, but he did not. Charlie Gibson knows best. Governor Palin has good vision.

bloggless on September 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM

“On a rainy day Sarah Palin said the sky was gray, forgetting that most days the sky is blue. Clearly making her unfit to be a heartbeat away from the higist office in the land.”
/Wall Street Journal

Gwillie on September 15, 2008 at 9:44 AM

You know what this means?

Obama has lost the election and the MSM knows it.

Look for a story on Palin kicking puppies in the weeks to come.

Elizabetty on September 15, 2008 at 9:46 AM

It’s a little bit of inside baseball, but it would be useful to explain in this campaign. Not all federal funding requests for specific projects are earmarks. Some are actually authorized by legislation. This is commonly done in housing bills, for example, where Congress will authorize up to X million dollars for projects in New York, for example. The the appropriators follow up with the actual spending bill that provides the funds. Until the 1980s, virtually all federal funds were allocated this way. You had to have the project authorized first, then it got funded.

Earmarks are unauthorized line-items in an appropriations bill. They used to be very rare and in some cases could draw a point of order on the floor of the House or Senate because they were not authorized. Somewhere along the way Congress just threw the rules out the window and started earmarking almost everything. The problem that creates is that a small group of appropriators becomes the most powerful group in Congress, and projects can be inserted into must-pass funding bills in the dead of night with no public scrutiny. This is what John McCain has been fighting against for years, and he’s been called a crank (and worse) for doing it.

Projects specifically requested by a governor of a state are almost by definition NOT earmarks. They can be scrutinized by everyone in Congress and the public, and all can debate their merits. I think this is what McCain meant when he said that Gov. Palin has not asked for any earmarks. The abuse of earmarks comes from the last-minute insertions, the lack of transparency, and the you-vote-for-mine-I’ll-vote-for-yours backscratching mentality of Congress. The involvement of lobbyists who formerly worked for important members of Congress getting earmarks for favored clients is also a huge part of the earmark abuse. That does not seem to be happening with the Alaska projects either.

rockmom on September 15, 2008 at 9:47 AM

bloggless on September 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Alaska supplies the lower 48 with 20% of our energy. It is also the first line of defense against Russian ICBMs. All in all, an important state, both economically and strategically.

ManlyRash on September 15, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Earmarks. Legislation. Pork. It’s all one big bowl of bullcrap soup. Have fun picking out the palatable bits for the sake of political expediency.

Fletch54 on September 15, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Also, it’s pretty easy to miss the fact that Governors can’t earmark, because they aren’t members of Congress.

Three Million dollars for a Ketchup Research facility tacked onto a Defense bill is a different animal than a funding request.

Amen to that! ha! I think this is a pretty much a non-issue but again, I hope that they will just be honest about their requests for funding and dodge the questions like their oponents have a tendency to do.

bethany on September 15, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Thank you, Ed.

Write Laura Meckler at WSJ, folks, and ask why she didn’t link the lists she states she went by in comparing Obama’s and Palin’s efforts. Does she not know that, on the Internet, we just considered it a hack opinion until we link to our backup?

Show your work, Laura!

[This has been a public service message from the army of davids project and I, unanimously, approve this message]

Dusty on September 15, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Sorry I misspoke. i meant to say

I hope that they will just be honest about their requests for funding and NOT dodge the questions like their oponents have a tendency to do.

bethany on September 15, 2008 at 9:50 AM

http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000002947712

That speech touched off some unusually outraged media coverage, which noted that Palin had, in fact, asked Congress for nearly $200 million in federal earmarks just this year. Could it be? Where’s the evidence?

Fortunately, if you’re curious, you can look them all up, thanks to the Web site of Alaska’s earmark king, Sen. Ted Stevens — who was thoughtful enough to list all of the earmark requests he got and who asked for them. Sure enough, Palin’s office submitted 31 requests, totalling approximately $197 million. You can read the list here.

It’s not that the image of Palin as an earmark fighter is a total myth. Palin did, in fact, anger Stevens by trying to cut back on earmark requests. “It is a difficult thing to get over right now, the feeling that we don’t represent Alaska because Alaska doesn’t want earmarks,” Stevens told the Anchorage Daily News in March.

Palin made it clear she was trying to get on the right side of growing momentum to rein in federal earmarks. “You can either be proactive and be a part of the positive changes that are coming,” she told the paper, “or you can try to fight this new system that’s coming in.”

In addition, the cover letter to Stevens states that the requests were “reduced significantly from previous years,” noting that Palin’s office was “mindful of congressional concerns about budget deficits and earmarks.” That statement shows that “there is some recognition . . . that there is some problem generally with earmarks,” said Steve Ellis, a spokesman for the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

In a memo e-mailed to reporters this afternoon, the McCain campaign said Palin’s requests were a significant reduction from the record of the previous Alaska governor, Republican Frank Murkowski, whom Palin unseated in 2006. Murkowski’s final request asked for $350 million in earmarks, according to the campaign.

gumble on September 15, 2008 at 9:50 AM

How come nobody here gets it…..If a Repub requests money, its an earmark…..If a Dem sneaks in money, after issues have been voted on….its ok….why Dont you get get it…..isn’t it obvious Palin is ROBBING us blind, while OBAMA is being Neighborly and by the book, above board….Of course you would agree that Palin is in a much better Postion to “Sneak” these “earmarks” than Obama….I mean She is a GOV…of Alaska…which is closer to Washington than Heaven….(where Obama resides)…..while poor destitute Obama…has spent 3 years running for POTUS (not at work to be ables to sneak, I mean request funds) and he is afterall, just Jesus…trying to organize the people to teach them how he is going to a take single $1 bill and break into 100Billion in new spending…..why are Republicans so mean????? LMAO

GOPGryphon on September 15, 2008 at 9:52 AM

My understanding is that Palin has cut the number of requests from 63 to 31 and that 27 of those requests have something to do with federally mandated regulations and or programs.

Palin has done a lot of reforming, but the truth is she accomplished that with a considerable amount of bipartisan support. She probably had to let some stuff go through just to get that kind of support. It is hard to be a reformer if there is no support for reform.

It is also true that Palin has always stated that she preferred any requests to be done in an open kind of way, to avoid charges of under the table dealing. But when her representatives include Ted Stevens and Don Young, that might be hard to do.

I suppose we will learn more as time goes on about all this, but I have to admit I have begun to wonder just exactly what it is the WSJ has against this woman.

Terrye on September 15, 2008 at 9:53 AM

I was kind of wondering how a Governor gets “earmarks.”

drjohn on September 15, 2008 at 9:53 AM

This is reminiscent of the flak Bob Inglis took for failing to acquire federal funding for the Southern Connector. He had no objection to funding it properly and above board, but he refused to resort to the pork barrel tricks so many other congressmen used to slip things in through the back door. The highway ended up being funded privately as a toll road, and a lot of voters gave Inglis a hard time about it. But if a lot of other elected officials took Inglis’ approach the country would be better off.

backwoods conservative on September 15, 2008 at 9:54 AM

No more abuse, is what she said.

I’ve no concerns on this score except for it’s use as a political football. I watched her old interviews on cspan and her fiscal philosophy of getting Alaska off taxpayer dollars is terrific.

Spirit of 1776 on September 15, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Earmarks. Legislation. Pork. It’s all one big bowl of bullcrap soup. Have fun picking out the palatable bits for the sake of political expediency.

Fletch54 on September 15, 2008 at 9:48 AM

You don’t recognize a difference between the above described ketchup factory request in a defense bill and funds requested to meet federal mandates? I’ll bet you contributed for the Ron Paul blimp, didn’t you?

a capella on September 15, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Here’s the problem.

McCain and Palin are running on a reform ticket, one to stop this sort of thing.

If they win, and it continues, it’ll kill the party.

lorien1973 on September 15, 2008 at 10:03 AM

The President does not have the Line Item Veto, IF Projects are so important that they need to be funded, then the spending bill should be able to pass on it’s own merits without being stuffed into an earmark..

States sometimes ask for Money IF they need something, The Congress pass the spending THEY ARE ONES THAT are responsible for how the money is spent and appropriated NOT the Governors. (The Buck stops at the President However Since he does NOT have the Line Item Veto, The Ear Marks Have broken down the system)

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:04 AM

I was kind of wondering how a Governor gets “earmarks.”

drjohn on September 15, 2008 at 9:53 AM

Answer: Any Republican with a pulse gets Money=Earmark
Any Democrat gets money= It was a polite, above board request…
Dems are Neighborly….dont cha know?
LMAO

GOPGryphon on September 15, 2008 at 10:05 AM

earmarks should be OUTLAWED…..no vote…NO MONEY…1st canidate that says that….will get a lot of VOTES!

GOPGryphon on September 15, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Either Return the Line-Item-Veto or get rid of the earmarks and let the projects stand on their own merits or do both.

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Earmarks. Legislation. Pork. It’s all one big bowl of bullcrap soup. Have fun picking out the palatable bits for the sake of political expediency.

Fletch54 on September 15, 2008 at 9:48 AM

No, it’s not all the same. The issue at hand is transparency. If appropriations are attached to unrelated but necessary legislation, that’s pork.

Reducing spending is a separate issue. You must understand the difference if you want to be taken seriously.

connertown on September 15, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Here’s the problem.

McCain and Palin are running on a reform ticket, one to stop this sort of thing.

If they win, and it continues, it’ll kill the party.

lorien1973 on September 15, 2008 at 10:03 AM

The point has already been made that if McCain?Palin win, the battle has just begun. Earmark abuse is not restricted to donks and the old establishment pubbies will fight reform just as hard. It isn’t a party issue.

a capella on September 15, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Correction:

McCain?Palin

s/b McCain/Palin.

a capella on September 15, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Members of Congress—both in the House and the Senate—use earmarks to direct funds to projects of their choice.

http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/earmarksFAQ/

Thus strictly speaking she cannot have requested earmarks.

drjohn on September 15, 2008 at 10:14 AM

The Dog that didn’t Bark.

What isn’t mentioned in all of this is WHERE Obama’s earmarks went.
Lotta shady characters in Chi Town disguised as developers

Herb on September 15, 2008 at 10:14 AM

A couple of factoids to put these numbers into perspective:

The people of Alaska don’t pay income tax or sales tax to the state (I’m not talking about tax evasion: that is the law).

The state government is almost entirely funded by royalties on the oil that’s being extracted in Alaska. Those royalties are ultimately paid by the end users in the lower 48.

In fact Alaska collects so much in these royalties that it has established a Permanent Fund which pays dividends to residents of Alaska. This year every eligible Alaskan received $3,269 dollars.

The Federal government spends $13,800 per capita in Alaska, which is the highest for any state in the nation. (In contrast Illinois receives $6,400 per capita, Delaware gets $6,500.)

For every dollar that Alaskans pay in Federal taxes, the Federal government sends $1.83 back to Alaska, second only to Mississippi.

So in the light of these massive subsidies that the rest of the United States sends to Alaska, even as the residents of Alaska refuse to pay for their own government, Gov. Palin had better have a very good explanation for every earmark/funding request she sends to Washington.

factoid on September 15, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Obama Requested 330 Projects Totaling Almost $1 Billion ($935.7 Million) Since Being Sworn In As A Senator In January 2005

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20080909/pl_usnw/republican_national_committee__obama_biden_earmark_makeover

$1 Billion X 100 Senators = $100 Billion Dollars of Requested Pork.

Some Senators have Requested MORE than Obama..

McCain has Requested $0

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:16 AM

factoid on September 15, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Obama better have good reason for all his Pork, how many people live in Illinois?

How high are the Taxes in Illinois?

The Highest in the US right?

Why does he need Pork?

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:19 AM

earmarks should be OUTLAWED…..no vote…NO MONEY…1st canidate that says that….will get a lot of VOTES!

GOPGryphon on September 15, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Agreed! I also think that the first candidate to propose Congressional term limitations would get a ton of votes too — but be unbelievably unpopular in the Congress.

thePajamaPundit on September 15, 2008 at 10:21 AM

People have been fleeing Illinois and have been fleeing for over a decade because of High Taxes to live in Indiana, you would think that they would wonder what was happening, to the jobs and revenue stream.

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Earmarks are hidden tags on legislation which passes, thereby making the earmarked funds available to pet Congressional projects. There is nothing wrong with earmarks, it’s the procedure of allowing them to be attached to bills without proper hearings and open votes that is screwed up — It allows Congress to hush-hush pay off groups for support.

Like what Democrats do for the green groups — Pay them with your tax money in return for their support of Democrats stupid environmental restrictions.

tarpon on September 15, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Earmarks are not equivalent to all federal spending

Governors can’t earmark, because they aren’t members of Congress.

I’ve been waiting (silently!) for someone to make these points. While they seem to be no-brainers, I think they have been conveniently overlooked and ignored by the media. I’m glad to see them so clearly presented…finally.

Least of These on September 15, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Earmarks are hidden tags on legislation which passes, thereby making the earmarked funds available to pet Congressional projects. There is nothing wrong with earmarks, it’s the procedure of allowing them to be attached to bills without proper hearings and open votes that is screwed up — It allows Congress to hush-hush pay off groups for support.

Like what Democrats do for the green groups — Pay them with your tax money in return for their support of Democrats stupid environmental restrictions.

tarpon on September 15, 2008 at 10:29 AM

If the earmark/project is so important and needs to funded, write a bill and If has enough support it will pass..

You see… that is why they do this BS, because these Senators would never write a bill for some of the idiotic things that they spend money on, NOR would it ever even pass anyhow.

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:36 AM

The correct response to a story like this is not to ask for details on a distinction without a difference. It sounds like parsing and semantics.

The correct response is to point out the hundreds upon hundreds of BILLIONS in pork either requested or supported by Obama and Biden, and tie them both to the lobbyist son of Joe Biden.

Obama/Biden trying to hoist McCain/Palin on the earmark petard is the equivalent of the town drunk pointing to someone ordering a drink in a bar.

GulfCoastBamaFan on September 15, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Obama, Biden’s Son Linked by Earmarks

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:46 AM

Obama/Biden Earmark Makeover

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Again McCain has $0 Earmarks.

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:50 AM

The key to earmarks should be their requirement for a clear up or down vote. The light should be shone on all of them so we know whether we think they are worthy or not. All states want good roads and bridges etc. It’s the BS earmarks like cow flatulence and the like we are fed up with.

roninacreage on September 15, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Although a lot of hay is made of her request for federal tax dollars for projects in Alaska; she was an OUTSIDE executive requesting the aid. This is far different than a Senator, an “insider” in the process and, in part, responsible for crafting the federal budget, voting themselves a slice of the pie. That is very much like legislators voting themselves a pay raise, on our nickel…

or as some of O!s Chicago constituents might say…

“Break me off a lil’ sumpin’-sumpin’…”

RocketmanBob on September 15, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Update II

And yet another lesson in not believing the media’s first report.

BadgerHawk on September 15, 2008 at 11:02 AM

The correct response to a story like this is not to ask for details on a distinction without a difference. It sounds like parsing and semantics.

GulfCoastBamaFan on September 15, 2008 at 10:41 AM

But there is a difference, and a big one. Legislation designed to appropriate money sees the light of day. It requires a vote directly tied to the issue at hand. Earmarks do not. They are a like a parasite, just along for the ride.

tgharris on September 15, 2008 at 11:07 AM

How does Gov. Palin’s request compare with the other 49 Governors over the past two years?

Elizabetty on September 15, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Chakra Hammer on September 15, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Dude, you have authored 9 of the past 54 comments, all in the space of 44 minutes. Is there anything else you have been meaning to say?

factoid on September 15, 2008 at 11:09 AM

I am used to a higher quality of WSJ reporting than what I found in the article. Even on my first read Iasked myself “How many of the requests were really earmarks, versus how many were through acceptable channels?”

This was an obviously ambigious article. Is the WSJ slipping, or do they have an agenda here?

ksm on September 15, 2008 at 11:56 AM

You know, it’s nice to see someone who has the gumption to do things right from the very beginning. No matter who tries to go back and say something about his/her past, they just can’t find any misdeeds.

That’s refreshing!

ballz2wallz on September 15, 2008 at 12:04 PM

Remember, they don’t call Obama Captain Earmark for nothing…it’ll be hard to use this against her when he did the same thing, only worse.

Governors do not earmark — and given her relationship with Ted Stevens, I highly doubt there’s anything nefarious here (just like the other smears against her).

Richard Romano on September 15, 2008 at 12:09 PM

So, a recap for the MSM, Palin signed a bill increasing State funding for a program for unwed mothers and she decreased State requests for Federal funding (not necessarily earmark funding, but the requests were reduced nonetheless).

forest on September 15, 2008 at 12:15 PM

It is a legitmate function of states to request federal money for projects. It is the backdoor dealings that Sarah Palin has fought.

Godzilla on September 15, 2008 at 12:49 PM

I’m starting to see this argument by the liberal media about Palin actually seeking approx. $450 million in earmarks for Alaska, and attempting to slam her for doing so because she’s criticizing Obama for his nearly $1 billion in earmarks.

This argument forgets one key point: The differences in the job of a GOVERNOR versus that of a State’s SENATOR or CONGRESSPERSON.

It is an entirely expected and proper part of ANY governor’s JOB to ATTRACT AS MUCH INVESTMENT AS POSSIBLE to his or her state, in order to benefit that state, be it private investment capital or federally funded capital. Of course, it’s also the governor’s job to hold down the tax burden or other social burdens to his/her state constituents during the process.

However, for a LEGISLATOR…it is an expected and proper part of the job to carefully study these attempts to attract investment by the states, deem whether they are worthy of federal funding and thus inclusion in an earmark, or whether it’s either a fairly low priority when evaluated against competing projects/initiatives, or even a waste of their state taxpayers’ tax money.

Obama was barely there in the Illinois state legislature, and also barely there for the U.S. Senate…notice the multiple “present” votes not taking a stand on many bills (indicating likely lack of time put into studying the issues to sufficient depth to take that stand, or the cowardice to be held accountable for having taken one at all) in both legislatures in which he served.

So…the media is attempting to slam Palin for ACTUALLY DOING the job she was elected to, while leaving Obama alone for NEGLIGENCE in doing his?

HYPOCRISY. SHEER, TOTAL, UTTER LIBERAL MEDIA HYPOCRISY.

Shirotayama on September 15, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Why should a governor be criticized for trying to get her state’s money back from the federal government? Would it be better for that money to go to some other state?

The real crime here is that states have to go to the federal govt hat-in-hand to get their money back. That’s the corrupt situation we need to rid ourselves of.

Kenrod on September 15, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Thanks Kenrod. This is so obvious I am stupefied as to why it needs to be brought to anyone’s attention who has any ounce of sense about them. But there lies the truth-there are many who have no sense.

Badger40 on September 15, 2008 at 2:08 PM

So in the light of these massive subsidies that the rest of the United States sends to Alaska, even as the residents of Alaska refuse to pay for their own government, Gov. Palin had better have a very good explanation for every earmark/funding request she sends to Washington.

factoid on September 15, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Here is a little factoid that you conveniently forgot.
Federal government-owned land

Alaska 69.1%
Illinois 1.8%

I am sure the good folks in Alaska would gladly give back the .83 percent in tax receipts if they can have close to 70% of their state back.

Are you really saying that the state should fund the infrastructure on land that they do not own or control?

montekimb on September 15, 2008 at 3:09 PM

McCain/Palin claims on earmarks should be tested properly by the media.

Operative word: “should”

I guess, that would happen in a parallel universe…Or, in your dreams.

franksalterego on September 15, 2008 at 3:52 PM

Team McCain Reads This Blog

“He was asked about nearly $200 million in congressional pet projects Palin requested for 2009 for her state, despite her boasts that she opposes such projects and his claim that she didn’t ask for any. McCain responded by criticizing Obama for seeking more than $900 million in these earmarks, by one count.”

I’m glad you listened!

GulfCoastBamaFan on September 15, 2008 at 4:21 PM

Someone needs ro get a grip.

Why would a governor need to go through the earmark process.
Palin would ask for funding as parof the normal proces.

davod on September 15, 2008 at 5:03 PM

PS:
The McCain campaign should come up with a simple add showing that most states apply for federal funding and use a couple of Democratic Governors as examples.

davod on September 15, 2008 at 5:06 PM

Before you hear the phrase Airport to Nowhere bandied about as a result of this sloppy WSJ article, find out more about that mysterious airport here.

Cuffy Meigs on September 15, 2008 at 5:42 PM

In other words, the WSj article was a hit piece. Will the WSJ follow up with correct information? I won’t expect this from other media but this is WSJ. Otherwise, we can flush WSJ down the toilet of MSM credibility too.

promachus on September 16, 2008 at 3:32 AM