Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin Said 'Minimize' Earmarks in '06;
Then Requested $197M From Feds

On one hand, an interview in the fall of 2006, before Sarah Palin was elected governor, conducted by Tim Bradner of the Alaska Journal of Commerce and web-posted two days ago, reveals she said things about earmarks that might please John McCain's anti-pork heart:

Q: How do you feel about congressional earmarks placed in federal funds to the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP)?

A: When I was a municipal mayor I was very frustrated at times with the state's STIP process. I'm all about local control because people at the local level are the best able to make judgments on projects that affect them. Given that, I'd like to minimize the earmark process in federal funding. Alaska is not seen in a very favorable light in Congress. We're going to have to find a more mature way to go about how we request federal funds.

However, on the other hand, a September 1 story in the Los Angeles Times shows that Palin's desire to minimize Alaska's dependence on earmarks didn't exactly become reality:

But under her leadership, the state of Alaska has requested 31 earmarks worth $197.8 million in next year's federal budget, according to the website of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The image above, from the Washington Independent web site, sheds light on Palin's earmark views before she was elected governor:

Take, for example, Wasilla City Council Informational Memorandum 99-62, prepared on June 14, 1999. This little gem outlines some of the state-funded projects that Wasilla City secured that year, including $1.2 million for storm water treatment and $605,000 for pedestrian pathways.

Then, slapped in the margin, former Mayor Sarah Palin — reformer extraordinaire — scribbled the following message:

FYI This does not include our nearly one million Dollars from the Feds for our Airport Paving Project.

We did well!!!

If Sarah Palin believes requesting $197 million in federal earmarks is minimizing the pork-barrel ways of doing business in Washington, then I can't imagine how she would define taking maximum advantage of earmarks for Alaska.

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