Saturday, September 06, 2008

Those Pesky Facts

The numbers are staggering. $800 per person?? That's not very mavericky.

"I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she's change, and that's great," Obama said. "She's a skillful politician. But, you know, when you've been taking all these earmarks when it's convenient, and then suddenly you're the champion anti-earmark person, that's not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can't just make stuff up."

Under Palin's leadership, Alaska this year asked for almost $300 per person in requests for pet projects from one of McCain's top adversaries: indicted Sen. Ted Stevens. That's more than any other state received, per person, from Congress for the current budget year. Other states got just $34 worth of local projects per person this year, on average, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based watchdog group.The state government's earmark requests to Congress in her first year in office exceeded $550 million, more than $800 per resident. Palin actually reduced the state government's requests for special projects this year in the wake of President Bush's demand for a cutback in earmarks.

Alaska also has become so accustomed to largess flowing from Congress through Stevens that most of Palin's earmark requests this year — such as studies of Alaskan fisheries, grants to combat drug trafficking, and rural airport upgrades — simply keep ongoing programs going. Among her requests was $150,000 to pay the travel bills of state and fisheries industry representatives on the boards that implement North Pacific fisheries agreements.

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