McCain Lies on The View…Gets Caught As Usual

** You can view Gov. Palin’s 2009 appropriations request here.


The Associated Press

Fact Check: McCain misstates Palin earmarks record

WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain continued to laud his running mate, Sarah Palin, as a budget cutter on Friday, this time erroneously asserting that as governor of Alaska she had not sought congressional earmarks for her state.

In fact, while Palin has significantly reduced the state’s earmark requests, she asked for nearly $200 million in targeted spending for the 2009 fiscal year.

McCain, an ardent foe of spending provisions that individual members of Congress get to insert into legislation, said Palin would reform government and specifically mentioned curbing federal spending for earmarks.

Appearing on the ABC television show “The View,” McCain was pressed on her record of seeking such targeted money for Alaska. “Not as governor she didn’t,” McCain said.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said that McCain’s remark came “in the middle of a conversation, the middle of a back and forth,” and the reference was to her record of cutting spending.

Palin’s earmarks record has been a campaign topic almost since McCain first announced her as his running mate two weeks ago. “I have championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress,” Palin said in her presidential campaign debut.

But when it comes to earmarks, Palin is no purist like McCain.

_ While she was mayor of the small town of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin hired a lobbyist to seek federal money for special projects. Wasilla obtained 14 earmarks, totaling $27 million, between 2000-2003, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group that monitors federal spending.

_ As governor, Palin has asked for 31 earmarks worth $197 million for the 2009 fiscal year. State budget documents show that the state requested 52 earmarks worth $256 million for the 2008 budget year.

Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, have used a figure of $550 million in state earmark requests for the 2008 fiscal year. That information has been based on an op-ed piece written in March in the Juneau Empire by John Katz, the director of state-federal relations and special counsel to Palin.

The article was entitled: “Palin not abandoning earmarks altogether.”

“Earlier this year, President Bush and the congressional leadership announced that the total number and dollar amount of earmarks must be reduced significantly,” Katz wrote. “The Palin administration has responded to this message by requesting 31 earmarks, down from 54 last year. Of these, 27 involve continuing or previous appropriations and four are new.”

Katz continued: “The total dollar amount of these requests has been reduced from about $550 million in the previous year to just less than $200 million.”

Aneet Makin, Palin’s associate director for state and federal relations, said Friday “that sentence could have been constructed better.”

He said the reference to $550 million referred to the state’s earmark request for the 2005 budget year, made by then Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski.

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