Today, John McCain delivers a big speech where he's speaking out about the horrible practice of human trafficking. However, according to the Congressional Record back on November 15, 2001 he complained about a $200,000 earmark that would have gone towards promoting a human trafficking conference in Hawaii, something the White House was pushing at the time.
Read below from his speech as recorded in the Congressional Record and see the key line in bold:
Once again, however, I find myself in the unpleasant position of speaking before my colleagues about parochial projects in yet another conference report. I have identified $1.8 billion in earmarks, which is greater than the cost of the earmarks in the conference report passed last year, which totaled $1.5 billion. so far this year, total porkbarrel spending has already hit a staggering $9.6 billion.
There are hundreds of millions of dollars in porkbarrel spending throughout this bill. The avalanche of unrequested earmarks buried in this measure will undoubtedly further burden the American taxpayers. While the amounts associated with each individual earmark may not seem extravagant, taken together, they represent a serious diversion of taxpayers' hard-earned dollars at the expense of numerous programs that have undergone the appropriate merit-based selection process.
There is $250,000 for the Central California Ozone Study; $500,000 for the International Pacific Research Center at the University of Hawaii; $1 million for the National Coral Reef Institute in Hawaii;$3.7 million for the Conservation Institute of the Bronx Zoo; $750,000 for the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation; $3.35 million for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College; and $6 million for the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth University for the nanocystalline materials and biomass research initiative.
Several items provided under funding for the State Department stand out for their questionable role in advancing American foreign policy interests. The report language directs the Department to make available $500,000 to the Northern Forum, which works to "improve international communication, cooperation, and opportunities for economic growth in northern regions of countries" around the world. I am from the Southwest, so perhaps I am geographically biased, but I have trouble understanding how this earmark serves the national interest.
There is also a $200,000 earmark for a conference in human trafficking at the University of Hawaii in this bill.
In the upcoming general election, the Democrats will try and paint McCain as two-faced. They will look for examples where McCain comes across as "pandering to the right. " This is one of those examples.
You wonder if some of these earmarks McCain rails against will come back to bite him. McCain has made this one of his main signature issues so you can be sure his critics will be pouring over every earmark he had a problem with and see if it poses a conflict come the fall.