One of John McCain's main selling points as a government reformer is that the Arizona Senator sure hates him some earmarks. He hates them so much that he's been willing to call them out by name. As a Senator, McCain's published "pork lists" full up with government spending he's deemed wasteful. On the stump he has promised much more of the same, vowing to make Congress' major pork players "famous."
That brings us, again, to Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Long before McCain focused the national spotlight on Palin as his Veep pick, he was making her famous as a dedicated feeder at the pork barrel trough. As the Chicago Tribune details:
In 2001, McCain's list of spending that had been approved without the normal budget scrutiny included a $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project in Wasilla. The Arizona senator targeted $1 million in a 2002 spending bill for an emergency communications center in town -- one that local law enforcement has said is redundant and creates confusion.
McCain also criticized $450,000 set aside for an agricultural processing facility in Wasilla that was requested during Palin's tenure as mayor and cleared Congress soon after she left office in 2002. The funding was provided to help direct locally grown produce to schools, prisons and other government institutions, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group.
McCain's surrogates contend that Palin had no other choice but to seek funding through Federal earmarks. McCain spokesman Taylor Griffin told the Trib that Palin said she was "disgusted" at the fact that "small towns like hers were dependent on earmarks." But the records actually show that "Wasilla had received few if any earmarks before Palin became mayor."