McCaskill Compares Obama to Senate Rival Akin
November 3, 2012

Democrat Claire McCaskill says , in one respect, President Obama is like her Senate rival, Todd Akin, they both earmarked money during their Congressional Careers.
In an interview with KMBC Friday, McCaskill was defending herself from Republican charges that she is too loyal to the Obama White house.
“He agrees with Todd Akin”, McCaskill said in the interview,”he’s an earmarker”.
According to the non partisan watchdog website “Legistorm’, she is right.
From 2008-2010, the period that Legistorm tracks each earmark, then Senator Obama offered 57 earmarks in 2008, his last year in the senate.
From 2008-2010 Legistorm shows Senate candidate Todd Akin offered 42 earmark projects.
Legistorm says in the Senate that year, Obama offered $3.3 solo earmarks and co-sponsored $95.2 million worth earmarks with other members of Congress.
Akin, over the course of three years tracked by Legistorm, offered 15 solo earmarks worth $7.5 million, co-sponsored 27 with other Members of Congress worth $91.6 million.
McCaskill has never offered earmarks. She supports abolishing them altogether as a wasteful spending practice.
Akin frequently defended his use of earmarking money during the campaign.
Last month he was in headlines for saying that his earmarks were done in the open, as opposed to behind closed doors, so there was nothing wrong with his practice. He says he was representing in St. Louis area district.
The McCaskill campaign broadcast a commercial criticizing his earmarking.
They pointed out over the course of his 12-year Congressional career, Akin offered 31 million in earmarks that produced near $80,000 in contributions. They also point out he offered an earmark to improve a road near his house.
Akin has said the earmark for that road improvement benefitted his constituents.
In the KMBC interview, McCasakill was pressed about her voting record with the White House.
She pointed out she voted against the Obama proposal for cap and trade. She also says went urged the Environmental Protection Agency to drop its plan to regulate the amount of dust on farms. The EPA did drop the idea, which McCaskill called ‘ridiculous”.
Republicans point to ranking that show McCaskill votes with the Obama White House well over 90% of the time.
She counters by pointing to another ranking that puts her at 50th of 100 Senators on where they fall on the political spectrum according to their voting record.


Akin Continues to Explain His Version of Earmarks
October 1, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Rep. Todd Akin has backed almost $100 million for pet projects in recent years, including money for home-state military programs and local highway work. During his Republican Senate primary this summer, Akin even aired a television ad proudly defending his effort to bring home federal dollars for production of military armor in his district.
Now Akin has aligned himself with a group that wants to ban these so-called earmarks, and the membership of the Senate Conservatives Fund has pledged $290,000 to help replenish the Republican’s cash-strapped campaign against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Akin denies that it’s a policy reversal and rejects any assertion of a quid pro quo for campaign cash. Five weeks to Election Day, the Republican is struggling to put back the pieces of his bid after his widely criticized statement that women have a biological defense against pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.” McCaskill, who has been hammering Akin in television ads over that remark, now has a new line of criticism on federal spending.
McCaskill asserts that Akin’s apparent evolution on earmarks undercuts the very essence of his campaign image as a “principled conservative” who stands firm for his beliefs.
“He defended (earmarks) as a constitutional principle, and then as soon as someone said there will be money for your campaign if you say you are no longer for earmarks, he said, `OK,'” McCaskill, a vocal opponent of earmarks, told The Associated Press. Akin “tried to have it both ways, which is about as unprincipled as you can get.”
Akin has remained competitive with McCaskill thanks largely to small-dollar donors and conservative Republicans who accepted his apology for the “legitimate rape” comment. They rallied to his cause when party leaders pulled their financial backing and tried to force him to quit the race. But Akin needs a steady stream of cash to continuing airing his campaign message through Election Day, and the backing of the Senate Conservatives Fund marked his most significant financial commitment since his rape remark.
Akin insists there was no twisting or contorting to land the important endorsement of the formidable political action committee founded by conservative Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
“I can tell you what I’m for or what I’m against, and as it turned out, that’s pretty consistent – or almost exactly consistent – with where a lot of the Senate conservatives are,” Akin said.
Senate rules define an earmark – or a “congressionally directed spending item,” as it’s officially termed – as a provision included in a bill at the request of a lawmaker that directs money to a specific entity, state or congressional district without going through a formula-driven or competitive award process. Earmarks now are banned in the Republican-controlled House, Senate Republicans have voted not to use them and a number of Democrats oppose them, most notably McCaskill.
But from the 2008 to 2010 fiscal years, Akin was involved in securing $99 million of earmarks, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group in Washington which tracks earmarks. In 2010, the last year in which the House used earmarks in appropriations bills, Akin teamed up with then-Sen. Kit Bond on a variety of spending requests.
Akin said he draws a distinction between spending allotments for such things as road projects that originate in a committee and work their way through the legislative process and special items that get added at the last moment in a joint House and Senate conference committee – leaving no time for most members to review them or attempt to strip them from the bill.
“Everybody’s got different definitions” for earmarks, Akin added. “But my commonsense is you don’t want people doing quid for quo kinds of things, and I don’t do that.”
When defining an earmark, Taxpayers for Common Sense draws no distinctions regarding the purpose of a project or the point at which it was added in the legislative process.
Akin said he supports some limitations on the ability of lawmakers to direct money to pet projects – but only to a certain point.
“Don’t take the definition so broadly that the members of Congress don’t have any input into the budget process,” he said.
McCaskill calls such assertions “complete balderdash,” arguing that Congress can still exercise financial oversight without earmarks. McCaskill has teamed up with DeMint to push for a ban on earmarks.

McCaskill Presses Akin, Accuses Him of ‘Pay to Play”, Earmark War Continues
September 24, 2012

Democrat Claire McCaskill’s campaign accused Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin of “play to play” Monday as the Missouri Senate campaign intensified.
McCaskill’s campaign released an audio tape it says was recorded, May 11, 2012 at a Fair Tax meeting in Kansas City.
Akin was asked how to get the attention of a Member of Congress.
He said leading a letter writing campaign is one option. He said another is to work hard for a campaign.
Then he added, “I’m in a three-way primary for the US Senate,” Akin said. “I’ve gone to people and asked for their support, their help, or their endorsement and some people say yes. They write me a decent check. I remember that. The people that I thought were friends that tell me to go away because they are supporting someone else, I remember that.”
McCaskill’s campaign also released a video on the internet editing several Akin statements together that they believes show Akin defending the ear mark process.
One clip says, “
There are some who want to go so radical using the flag waving term, ‘earmark’, that they’re going to give away the first article to the constitution to the executives and the bureaucrats. And for political favor I’m not going to give up the US Constitution.

Meanwhile, Akin’s campaign denied the St. Louis County Congressman had shifted his position on earmarks.
The National Journal is reporting that Akin’s campaign has agreed to ban earmarks in the future. In return, the PAC Senate Conservatives Fund may decide to support Akin’s campaign with much-needed money.
“That is flat-out not true”, said Akin spokesman Ryan Hite Monday. Hit says Akin has always opposed adding earmarks to bills that are not germane to the measure under consideration.
The Center for Responsive Politics shows from 2008-2010,Akin sponsored or co-sponsored $99.2 million in what are generally regarded as earmarks.
In July in a KMBC TV interview, Akin defended his actions.
“I absolutely refuse to stand idly by and allow the president to use Missouri taxpayer funds to bail out Illinois or California, or something. I’m not going to do that.”
In St. Louis Monday, Akin defended himself again at a news conference. Spokesman Hite says that Akin’s positions are similar to South Carolina Senator DiMint’s opposition to obscure ear marks inserted into legislation. DeMint is closely allied with the Senate Conservatives Fund.
His position Monday was similar to another comment he made in the KMBC interview in July.
“I’m totally opposed to slipping things into bills at night, when nobody knows what’s going on. But that doesn’t mean we should be completely hamstrung that we can’t make recommendations on how federal money is spent.”
Tuesday is the deadline for Akin to drop out of the Missouri senate race.
He’s made it quite clear, despite the controversy surrounding his campaign over his “legitimate rape” comment, he intends to stay in the campaign.
As proof, the Akin campaign Monday release the schedule of a state-wide campaign bus tour that starts Tuesday afternoon in st. Louis and ends Friday in the Kansas City area.

Brunner Rips Steelman for Power & Light Support, Akin on Earmarks & Debt Votes
June 20, 2012

Missouri US Senate candidate John Brunner opened up another phase of his criticism of primary rivals, Rep. Todd Akin and former Treasurer Sarah Steelman.
The Brunner campaign put up websites detailing what it calls the “numerous inconsistent and unreliable voters Treasurer Steelman and Congressman Akin have cast during their extended tenures as career politicians”.
The Brunner campaign pointed out Steelman’s support for the Kansas City downtown revitalization project that became known as the “Power and Light District”. The financing of the project was done with financing similar to the tax increment program where part of the sales tax revenues from a designated zone goes back into paying off the bonds. The Power and Light District has never met its financial expectations since it has opened.
The website says Steelman “even sponsored costly super TIF legislation that was the pet project of a Democrat Kansas City Mayor”.
That’s a reference to former KC Mayor Kay Barnes.
The area has struggled since it first opened and continues to receive a multi-million dollar annual subsidy from City Hall.
The entertainment district sits across the street from the successful Sprint Center Arena, which was financed by a tax increase on Kansas the bills from Kansas city’s hotels, restaurants, bars and Kansas City car rentals.
The Brunner site is called It also points out as a State senator she voted for an extension of the 6-cent gasoline tax that was set to expire in 2008. Later that year voters also handily defeated a 4-cent-a gallon gax tax hike.
Earlier this month, Steelman told a debate audience she had never voted for any tax increase. She has been campaigning for the Republican nomination as a budget hawk saying the key to reestablishing the economy is to cut many government programs and reduce spending
Rival Todd Akin is also targeted for his Congressional record, especially on earmarks and raising the debt ceiling limit.
Brunner’s campaign site for that has a similar name. It is called,
From 2008-2011,the years the compete records are available Akin asked for almost $105 million in earmarks on various bills as a Congressman according to the government tracking website ‘Open Secrets’.
The Brunner campaign also charges Akin with voting for the infamous $223 million Alaska earmark, ‘The Bridge to Nowhere’ in a 2005 transportation bill. The bridge, however, was never built. It still became, and remains, a poster child for wasteful spending..
The site also criticizes Akin for voting to raise the debt ceiling while in Congress. Akin admits he did that. But he adds earlier in his career, the federal government budget was in better shape and so was the economy.
In June, Brunner has stepped up his attacks on both his primary rivals. A few weeks ago, he broadcast the first attack commercial of the campaign. That was also aimed at Steelman and Akin’s records while in office.

Democrats Accuse Hartzler of Breaking Promise Not to Earmark
April 26, 2012

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is accusing Mo-4 Congresswoman of breaking her pledge not to support earmarks in legislation.
The DCCC says Hartzler and 64 other Members are asking the GOP Leadership to take up a measure called the "Miscellaneous Tarriff Bill"(MTB).
The bill would exempt small business from having to pay some tariffs on imports.
In the letter requesting the bill be considered, Hartzler and the other take note of the earmark issue.
They write, "Unlike spending earmarks, as they are sometimes erroneously characterized, a duty suspension included on the MTB is available to any US manufacturer."
A report in Politico assigns a political motive for the request.
"The push is a sign that freshmen who arrived in Washington talking up their anti-pork principles are now worried about what — if anything — they’ll have to show constituents when they hit the campaign trail. And, in typical Washington fashion, they think they’ve found a loophole that will get them past the ban."
Thursday Hartzler spokesman Steve Walsh also pointed out how the MTB is not a an earmark.
"MTBs are NOT limited tariff benefits or earmarks. House rules define limited tariff benefits as provisions benefitting ten or fewer entities. However, MTBs are benefits that are broadly available to anyone who imports a product."
Walsh also points out many earmarks increase spending, this reduces tariffs.
The issue is one House republican may have to sort out for themsleves.
Roll Call reports the Chairman of the house appropriations Committee is not as sure about the tariffs as hartzler and the other Republicans.

House Appropriators Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said he thinks the tariff bills are no different from earmarks. One of his cardinals, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), said that if the tariffs are allowed, there’s no reason earmarks should be banned, Roll Call reported.
“What my resentment has always been is what’s the difference between this and a well-vetted road project for the transportation bill or a research project on the agriculture bill?” said Kingston, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that deals with agriculture and rural development. “If you can give a tax relief, could you not do the same on a well-vetted expenditure that has broad support?”
Another Missouri Congressman, Billy Long, of southwest Missouri, also signed the letter. So did Ks-1 Rep. Tim Huelskamp