[Posted by WLS]
Politico has apparently taken sides — at least Ben Smith has — he’s the author of the Politico blog covering Obama.
This story just went up questioning Palin’s claims as a reformer, considering the long list of earmark pork that she has sought from Congress as the Governor of Alaska.
Fortunately for readers, he had the courtesy of linking to an Alaska Gov. document that sets forth a 4 page list of appropriations requests made on behalf of the state.
Palin requested millions of federal dollars for everything from improving recreational halibut fishing to studying the mating habits of crabs and the DNA of harbor seals.
It’s a position at odds with her recasting as an anti-earmarking champion, and with the tone of the biting scorn she’s employed toward the budgetary practice this week.
Palin’s earmark requests aren’t unusual, of course. Every self-respecting mayor and governor in America seeks federal dollars for local projects. And Palin has, at times, sounded a cautionary note on earmarks despite the fact that Alaska receives more earmarked federal money per capita than any other state and is unusually reliant on those funds because of its geographic isolation, massive size and extreme climate.
But the document summarizing Palin’s earmark requests… suggested a still-healthy appetite for earmarks. Soon afterward, Palin wrote an op-ed in a local newspaper outlining her not-so-reticent posture on earmarks.
“My role at the federal level is simply to submit the most well-conceived earmark requests we can,” she wrote.
Obama‘s campaign has responded by challenging Palin’s reform credentials.
“Senator McCain said Governor Palin ‘learned that earmarks are bad’, but in 2008 alone Gov. Palin requested $256 million in earmarks for Alaska, and her state received more earmarks per person that any other state,” said spokesman Tommy Vietor. “The fact is that Governor Palin isn’t just good at getting pork projects, she’s one of the most successful pork barrel politicians in history.”
But if you look at the document that Smith links, you quickly get feel for the fact that many of the earmarks are requests for funding that are completely legitimate, and many relate to unfunded mandates imposed upon Alaska by federal legislation like the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Several examples are set forth after the jump.
Here is the link to the document setting forth the Alaska appropriation requests. Here are a few examples of the justification for the request:
“Meets the increased needs under the Magnuson-Stevens Act for developing regional fishery coordinated databases.”
“This is an ongoing effort to collect data on the recreational hailbut fishery that is conducted by federal agencies though relying on the state for data.”
“Provides state funding for management of federal fisheries, including Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands king crab and tanner crab, weathervane scallops and groundfish.”
“To meet federal obligation to enhance Sockeye salmon production, the state operates an enhancement unit at an existing hatercy and conducts fish monitoring. The work is completed cooperatively with the Canadian government.”
“Provides ongoing funding for programs that mitigate that impacts of harvest reductions imposed by the Pacific Salmon Treaty on Alaskan fisheries and coastal communities.”
“Funds Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Northwest Treaty Indian Tribes in meeting federal obligations under Pacific Salmon Treaty.”
“Funds monitoring of ice seal populations in Native Villages, research on species delineation and genetics of harbor seals to understand the declines in population and provide for population restoration, and continues research into Stellar Sea Lion population decline.”
“Allows State of Alaska to monitor Yukon River salmon and provide information necessary to support negotiations between US and Canada under Yukon River Salmon Agreement.”
“To continue necessary airport upgrading after transfer of the Naval Air Station (Adak) to the State.”
“Continued funding to address the challenges of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) as it relates to teacher quality and student achievement. It provides trained, full-release mentors for beginning teachers and principals.”
“Funds State of Alaska for implementation of federal obligations under Yukon River Treaty.”
“To complete a communication facility to support the 168th Air Refueling Wing’s 8 PAA KC 135 aircraft.”
Nowhere in this list do we see anything like an earmark for the employer of Palin’s spouse. Compare this sequence of events:
Nov. 2004 — Obama elected to Senate.
Michelle Obama’s salary for the Univ. of Chicago Hospital — $121,910.
Michelle Obama’s salary in Spring of 2005 — increased to $316,962.
B. Obama’s earmark request for Univ. of Chicago Hospital Pavilion for 2006 — $1 million.
That’s a 5-1 return on the raise they gave Michelle.
But look at the list of earmarks released by Obama under prodding during the Democratic primaries.