While Democrats patted themselves on the back for their “earmark-free” spending bill earlier this year, some Republicans accused them of sneaking hidden earmarks into the bill.
Now, as the CIR/Los Angeles Times investigation shows, some of the self-congratulatory Democrats were personally lobbying for pet projects around the time the bill was passed. It turns out that some of the critical Republicans were too.
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), for example, lambasted the Democrats for a “deceptive” bill “packed with special interest earmarks, legislative gimmicks, and billions in new spending.” Soon after, Campbell wrote the Interior Department asking for money for a water project in his district — one of the earmarks that was eliminated in the Democrat-crafted bill. He asked that officials “call me personally if for any reason you are hesitant to provide funding for this Project.”
For the record, Campbell has been up front about his own appetite for earmarks, even as he continues to criticize Democratic pork.
As the L.A. Times story explains, “Campbell said he didn’t consider his action an effort to salvage an earmark. ‘It’s not an earmark because these guys can just say no,’ he said.”
In the end, Campbell’s project didn’t get funded. So, he’s trying again for 2008.