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Todd Akin Flips On Earmarks In Hopes Of Attracting Financial Support From Jim DeMint

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Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) could get a helping hand from Sen. Jim DeMint's super PAC in his bid for the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) could get a helping hand from Sen. Jim DeMint's super PAC in his bid for the U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) has had no problem with earmarks during his time in Congress. Between 2008 and 2010, he requested over $150 million for special projects in his district and denounced any attempt to reform the earmark system as giving "executives and the bureaucrats" too much power to determine how the federal government spends its cash.

But Akin is now renouncing his old ways and supporting a ban on earmarks -- reportedly in hopes of attracting support from Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) super PAC.

According to National Journal, DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund made the ban a condition of its support for Akin, whose campaign has been dominated by controversy over his belief that women will not become pregnant after a "legitimate rape." Akin has since said he "misspoke" on the issue.

"He has agreed to their earmark ban," said Rick Tyler, a senior aide to the Akin campaign who previously worked for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is defending her seat against Akin, released an online video on Monday decrying Akin's acquiescence to the SCF as selling out.

"During his 12 years in Congress, Todd Akin repeatedly funneled taxpayer dollars to his campaign donors, which is exactly the kind of Washington behavior that led Claire [McCaskill] to fight for an earmark ban," McCaskill spokesman Eric Dorey said in a statement. "In Todd Akin's Missouri, the wealthy and well-connected can pay to play, but Missouri's working families are simply on their own."

McCaskill's campaign also sent out a press release on Monday that detailed Akin's relationship to earmarks, one day before Akin's Sept. 25 deadline to withdraw from the race. Since he made his scientifically inaccurate remarks on Aug. 19, the national GOP establishment has called for him to leave the race, but Akin has remained firmly committed to his candidacy.

A May 2012 investigation by the Washington Examiner found that Akin received over $80,000 in campaign donations from people tied to companies that had benefited from the $31 million in federal earmarks the representative had diverted to his district.

Akin has also made headlines for accepting close to $3.3 million for a highway project located only half a mile from land on which he planned to develop six houses, located outside of St. Louis.

When asked if he would ever contemplate a ban on federal earmarks on July 21, 2012, Akin said it was a loaded question, drawing a parallel to the common example of "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

Akin could use the financial support of a political heavyweight like the SCF, given that neither the National Republican Senate Fund nor outside conservative groups like American Crossroads plan to restore their funding to advancing his campaign. Although Akin claims to have had substantial success in fundraising on his own, his campaign failed to pay the full amount for one of his ad purchases, leading to the station pulling his campaign videos from the slots.

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