Diary

Let’s Talk Earmarks and Why I’m Challenging Senator Bennett

The majority of those most likely to vote in a Republican Caucus or Primary already understand that our incumbent junior Senator has abandoned Utah’s values. Let’s take just a few examples found in his spending record alone, commonly known as “earmarks.” The following five principles are keystones to my campaign:

Fiscal Restraint: He brokered the 2008 bailout and voted to increase the debt limit in 2006 and 2007.
Limited Government: He votes for pork spending 91% of the time (Record with citations provided by a colleague on the Hill). In all, he voted against $45.4 billion in spending reductions.
Free Market Solutions: He sponsored Wyden-Bennett federally-managed health care that regulates the free market instead of allowing it to correct itself.
Energy Independence: He voted against an annual report detailing the amount of property the federal government owns and the cost of government land ownership to taxpayers.
Strong National Defense aboard, on our borders and in our families: He gets a D+ rating from Americans for Better Immigration for his pro-amnesty stance.

More earmark reasons for my challenge:

• He voted to raise the debt limit in 2006 (HJR 47 -109th Congress) and 2007 (HJR 43 – 110th) .
• He voted against transparency and an earmark moratorium (S. Amdt. 4347 to SCR 70).
• He ignored Utah constituents who warned him about bailing out failed business and voted for the $700 billion TARP bailout and Stimulus I in 2008. Then he turned around, after the damage was done and Republicans had lost the clout, and supported a measure to sunset TARP.
• He voted for the $300 million “Bridge to Nowhere.” (S. Amdt. 2165 to HR 3058)
• He voted against a resolution stating the Senate had a “moral obligation” to offset the cost of new spending (S. Amdt 917 to S. 761) and that it is irresponsible to borrow from Medicare, Social Security, foreign nations and future generations. (Amdt 891 to S. 378)
• He voted against prohibiting taxpayer subsidies to AMTRAK, an enterprise that has reported over $500 million in annual losses. (S. amdt 3474 to S. 294)
• He opposed an amendment to prohibit loans to communist China to support a Chinese nuclear project. (S. amdt 1242 to HR 3057)
• He co-sponsored government health care take over bill that would require non-church owned insurance companies to provide abortion options, that would impose an unconstitutional individual mandate to be insured and that would raise small business owner’s taxes requiring them to provide health benefits, and that would increase federal taxes and spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, and force Americans to pay their insurance premiums through the IRS, not to mention providing untold funds to provide grants to open up school-based health clinics to provide comprehensive health care (aka abortion and contraceptive counseling). S 391 – 111th Congress
• Although he calls himself “Utah’s conservative choice,” the American Conservative Union ranks him the #8 most liberal Republican in the Senate.
• He is the #1 Republican in funds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the lending organization that he granted the right to impose risky loans that triggered the economic meltdown.
• He stated he did not know it was un-Constitutional to give D.C. a seat in Congress without it first being admitted as a state. (Speech to Salt Lake County Republican Party, 2009)
• He promised a tax code that looked like a postcard and then proposed that the IRS monitor and control our health insurance premiums in addition to our income taxes.
• In defense of his TARP support and abandoning the free market to bail out failing companies he said, “Reagan’s dead. Get over it.” (Testimony of Utah County State Delegation from Fall 2008).

I met with the Deseret News in October and shared this record with the Editorial Board. I told them it was their moral responsibility to let the people of Utah know the truth. I told them I would be happy to share this record with them. I’ve not heard from them since.

The Salt Lake Tribune contacted me about an article on earmarks. I told the reporter that I support an earmark moratorium and emphasized that we must first ask, “Where’s the money?” and balance the budget. That was not reported accurately.

Earmarks are a major source of the back room deals in Washington that I have been so outspoken about throughout this campaign and prior to it. One of the Senate challengers got in the race in January. In reading his supporters comments I noticed that they assert he was the first challenger to support DeMint’s earmark moratorium. That is impossible because he wasn’t even in the race last fall when I was speaking out about our Senator’s deplorable record, including his opposition to the earmark moratorium.

Our Senator is called an “appropriator.” His record shows that he has voted for pork earmarks 91% of the time. That also means he spends the majority of his time working back room deals rather than paying attention to I intend to be outspoken against this Good Ol’ Boy Club to which women also belong and to clean up Washington’s back room deals.

Our Senator knows that if you want a bill to pass, all you have to do is dump 9,000 earmarks into it, and you will get what you want. “Stimulus I and II” are perfect examples. This has been going on for many decades, and it smacks of cronyism and corruption.

Are all appropriations inappropriate? Of course not. An earmark is an appropriation. Bills for raising revenue originate in the House, but the Senate can propose or concur with such bills. Earmarks must meet the following criteria:

1. They must be germane to the bill and separated individually, vetted in a transparent process and then evaluated on their own merits.
2. They must go through the same review process as a bill itself: committee hearings meeting the same deadlines. They cannot simply be dumped into a bill at the last minute in conference where they are typically not read or reviewed.
3. They must have constitutional authority, a “federal nexus,” meaning if the appropriation is within the limited and enumerated powers of the Constitution (Article I Section 8), then they may be considered. “To provide for the common defense” is a constitutional power of Congress. But to fund a private scrapbooking company $5 million when our troops in the line of duty don’t have the necessary supplies, would be inappropriate. Also, why should Utah fund millions of dollars of sand in Florida and why should Florida fund a lighting system in Utah?
4. Unconstitutional appropriations include those that fund one private enterprise over another without a transparent and open bidding process.

With this in mind, the first question I must ask is: Where’s the money? At last look, our nation was $12.4 trillion in debt, and that amount will only cover us through February. The issue we ought to focus on is where’s the money? Then you must follow the money. When you follow the money, you typically find the corruption.

That’s my mission. Some say it’s impossible, or “You’ll never change that – that’s just the way Washington works.” I don’t agree. I look at life, not as things are, but as they might or should become. It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes. All it takes is one person to stand up and say, “The Emperor has no clothes!” One person, given a message repeated over and over, can make a difference.

I am also refusing to take any corporate funds from companies like EnergySolutions who hedge their bets by funding both sides of the aisle. I have a label for that practice: white collar bribery.

Is there any Republican (or American) out there who understands or who has even read the platform of the Republican Party who still supports our incumbent junior Senator’s re-election? It’s time to give him a retirement party on March 23, caucus night in Utah. You can make a difference by simply showing up and casting your vote for a delegate who supports Cherilyn Eagar for U.S. Senate. Get involved NOW.

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Cherilyn Eagar for U.S. Senate – Principles for a Change

Fiscal Restraint
Limited Government
Free Market Solutions
Energy Independence
Strong National Defense

… not only abroad and along our borders, but within our communities and our families.

Principled. Passionate. Persuasive. Prepared.

For more information and/or to donate, go to
http://www.eagar4senate.com/

Authorized and Paid for By Friends of Cherilyn Eagar for U.S. Senate