Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

McCain Falsely Claims He Has ‘Never Asked For A Single Earmark Or Pork Barrel Project’ For His State

By Amanda Terkel  

"McCain Falsely Claims He Has ‘Never Asked For A Single Earmark Or Pork Barrel Project’ For His State"

Share:

google plus icon

In tonight’s Fox News GOP presidential forum, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attempted to argue that if elected president, he will eliminate “wasteful spending.” As evidence, he claimed that he has never asked for an earmark for his state of Arizona:

And I’m proud to tell you, Chris, in 24 years as a member of Congress, I have never asked for nor received a single earmark or pork barrel project for my state and I guarantee you I’ll veto those bills. I’ll ask for the line item veto and I’ll veto them and I’ll make the authors of them famous.

Watch it:

McCain’s claim is false. In 2006, the senator teamed up with fellow Arizona senator Jon Kyl (R) to funnel $10 million toward the University of Arizona for an academic center named after the late Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. Even Arizona lawmaker, Rep. Jeff Flake (R), said he was planning to “lean against the measure.” The National Taxpayers Union, another traditional McCain ally, questioned why the senator was making federal taxpayers foot the bill for the center.

In 2003, McCain also slipped $14.3 million into a defense appropriations bill to
create a buffer zone around Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. As Roll Call reported in 2003, this project violated McCain’s own anti-pork rhetoric:

The only problem is the project to acquire more land near the base was not requested by President Bush or fully authorized by the Senate Armed Services Committee – two of McCain’s criteria for identifying so-called ‘pork.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), a notorious porker, was overjoyed that McCain had joined his side. “One man’s pork is another man’s alternate white meat,” said Stevens. “If he asked for it, we put it in.”

UPDATE: On Nov. 17, 2003, Roll Call posted a “correction” to its original article about the Luke Air Force Base request:

The Nov. 6 article “McCain Breaks Own Pork Rule” inaccurately stated that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) violated his own rules against so-called “pork barrel” spending. The Senate Parliamentarian’s office maintains that the provision was properly authorized in the Senate-passed version of the fiscal 2004 Defense authorization bill and did not need to be signed by the president to be considered “authorized,” as the article suggested. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on military construction, told Roll Call that McCain never specifically asked her to put the $14.3 million project for Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base into the fiscal 2004 military construction bill.

Transcript:

WALLACE: But, Senator McCain, when you look at the fact that we survived 9/11, that we survived Hurricane Katrina, terrible blows to the economy and the economy kept growing, a lot of people say that’s because of the Bush tax cuts that you voted against.

MCCAIN: Well, I — and when we see what happened to spending and we have a bridge to nowhere of $233 million to an island with 50 people on it and we have former members of Congress who are now residing in federal prison because of the spending and corruption, my friend, we have to, if we’re going to restore the confidence of the American people and our Republican base first, we’re going to have to cut the spending, we’re going to have to eliminate the pork barrel and wasteful spending.

And I’m proud to tell you, Chris, in 24 years as a member of Congress, I have never asked for nor received a single earmark or pork barrel project for my state and I guarantee you I’ll veto those bills. I’ll ask for the line item veto and I’ll veto them and I’ll make the authors of them famous.

And we’ll get spending under control and then we’ll be able to have some physical sanity and restore trust and confidence on the part of the American people.

‹ Rep. Baker may resign to join hedge fund lobby.

ThinkFast: January 7, 2008 ›

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.