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Lugar’s Longstanding Love Affair With Earmarks

As the primary battle for the Republican Senate nomination heats up, Dick Lugar has come under increased scrutiny for his record on earmarks. And it is quite the record. Aside from sponsoring over $300 million in earmark requests in just the last 4 years, he has also actively opposed efforts to reform the system.

“No matter how much he would like to forget his big-spending past, there is no doubt that Dick Lugar is a champion earmarker. Maybe that is acceptable to his neighbors in Virginia, but I doubt he would hear much support from Hoosiers,” said Matt Thornton, spokesman for American Bridge 21st Century.

Background

Lugar Sponsored At Least 249 Earmarks Worth Over $315 Million From 2008 – 2010. According to Taxpayers for Common Sense figures, Lugar sponsored at least 249 earmarks in fiscal years 2008 – 2010, worth $315,089,153. At least 42 of them were solo earmarks, worth $36,081,200. [Legistorm Earmarks Database, Accessed 2/12/12]

Lugar: Banning Earmarks “Does Not Reduce Spending.” In a November 2010 statement, Lugar wrote, “I oppose the Senate Republican Conference voluntary moratorium on so-called ‘earmarks.’ At a moment in which over-spending by the Federal government perpetuates annual deficits of over $1 trillion a year, the Congress is being asked to debate a Congressional earmark spending resolution which will save no money even while giving the impression that the Congress is attempting to meet the public demand to reduce spending. Instead of surrendering Constitutional authority to Washington bureaucrats and the Obama Administration, Congress should focus on reducing spending on both entitlement and discretionary spending programs. Providing the Obama Administration with greater authority to direct spending does not accomplish this goal, and eliminating earmarks does not reduce spending.” [Lugar Release, 11/16/10]

Lugar Voted Against Permanently Banning Earmarks. On February 2, 2012, Lugar voted against an amendment to the STOCK Act sponsored by Sens. Pat Toomey and Claire McCaskill that would have permanently banned the practice of earmarking. Lugar was one of only 13 Republicans voting against the ban. [Roll Call 8, S 2038, 2/2/2012; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/2/12]

Club For Growth: Lugar’s Vote “Typical Of A Career Politician.” In response to Lugar’s vote against a permanent ban on earmarks, Club for Growth PAC president Chris Chocola issued a statement saying, “Senator Lugar’s vote against a permanent ban on earmarks is typical of a career politician who has been in Washington far too long. The Club for Growth PAC has been closely watching Indiana’s Republican U.S. Senate primary. After Senator Lugar showed his continuing commitment to wasteful pork spending today, we are considering doing more than just watching.” [Club for Growth Release, 2/2/12]

2010: Lugar Voted Against Advancing Coburn Amendment On Earmark Moratorium. On November 30, 2010, Lugar voted against suspending Senate rules to allow consideration of an amendment to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act offered by Sen. Coburn that would ban earmarks for 2011, 2012, and 2013. Lugar was one of only eight Republicans voting against the earmark ban. [Roll Call 255, S 510, 11/30/2010; New York Times, 11/30/10]