08/26/2010 11:28 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Ken Buck Sought Earmarks As Weld County DA

Despite making opposition to earmark spending a pillar of his Senatorial campaign, Colorado Republican actually sought $5 million worth of earmarks as Weld County District Attorney.

The Denver Post reports:

The Weld County prosecutor, for example, asked then-Rep. Marilyn Musgrave to include a $2 million earmark in 2006 and 2007 appropriation bills for expansions of North Range Behavioral Health center in Greeley.

Buck also pushed federal earmarks and grants for a variety of northern Colorado law enforcement programs. In 2008, he won $235,000 earmarked for the Weld County Gang Task Force.

Buck insists that his actions as Weld County DA do not contradict his current stance as a Senate candidate, telling the Post that federal money helped him do his job as DA, but he still wants to change the system.

Federal spending has already become a defining issue of Buck's race against incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet. Buck attacked Bennet this week for voting against two measures that would have frozen pay for federal employees.

In January, Buck signed a pledge promising not to pursue or support earmarks if he's elected.

The Denver Post report comes the day after the release of a Reuters/Ipsos poll that showed Buck beating Bennet by 9 points. The Bennet campaign is expected to release a poll of its own Thursday showing the Democrat with a 4-point lead.