One of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) signature campaign pledges is to “do away” with the “pork-barrel-laden bills” from the past few years. Today, McCain held an event at Liberty Science Center, the “most visited museum in New Jersey and one of the most intensively used in the country,” to discuss his environmental agenda.
But McCain’s event at Liberty Science Center conflicts with his promise to abolish earmarks from the federal budget. The museum, in fact, has been the beneficiary of multiple federal earmarks. For example, the Office of Management and Budget reported that in FY2005, the museum received $500,000 from a NASA earmark request:
An increase of $500,000 to the Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, New Jersey for the Hudson Harbor and Estuary Ecological Learning Center.
In FY2006, Liberty received another earmark, this time at $250,000, according to Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).
Several of McCain’s campaign events have been set at places funded by “pork.” Last month, on the same day he called earmarks “an egregious process,” McCain spoke at a Florida air field that had received almost $10 million in earmarked funds between 2001 and 2005. He also rode on the ferry in Gee’s Bend, AL, a project funded by a federal earmark in the 2005 Transportation/Treasury Appropriations Act.
On May 1, McCain held a health care event at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA. There, he met a woman with ovarian cancer who was treated “in a $80 million clinical trial program funded by an earmark.” McCain then backtracked from his anti-earmark crusade, simply stating, “It’s the process I object to.”
But that excuse doesn’t hold up for the Liberty Science Center. CAGW reported that in 2006, NASA “added $273 million in earmarks, in conference, without a budget request from the agency.” These regular appearances at earmark-funded projects reflect the lack of thought in McCain’s plan to wholly abolish federal earmarking.