Murphy, Specter and Pork

Many Pennsylvanians and conservatives across the country have not forgiven Sen. Rick Santorum for his endorsement of Sen. Arlen Specter. Pennsylvania Republicans are not proud to have sent to Washington a pro-abortion candidate who cast the 60th vote for Obamacare, and we remember the elected officials who pushed us to do so.

While Santorum’s decision was clearly a mistake, at least he made a conservative argument regarding the need for conservative justices on the Supreme Court. And who knows? Maybe Justices Roberts and Alito will lead the court to overturn Obamacare as clearly unconstitutional.

Tim Murphy, on the other hand, endorsed Specter knowing exactly what he wanted: more wasteful pork barrel spending.

“I try to be a practical guy,” Murphy said when he endorsed Specter. “What does Pennsylvania need? It needs lawmakers with enough clout to bring federal dollars to the state. So much is based on seniority in Congress,” Murphy said.

The logical conclusion of this philosophy is to always vote incumbent, Democrat or Republican, Arlen Specter or Pat Toomey. But it gets much worse.

The hunger for more pork led Murphy to support the “North Shore Connector,” rated among the most wasteful spending projects funded by Obama’s stimulus bill. Before it received stimulus funding, Murphy helped secure the original earmarked funding. Now, the project’s $362 million budget has ballooned to $529 million. Even Democratic Governor Ed Rendell called the entire project a “tragic mistake.”

Murphy is so committed to feeding at the trough that he supported the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” in Alaska. The thinking goes: if you scratch the backs of other Congressmen – even if it means sending PA tax dollars to Alaska for a worthless project – those Congressmen will scratch yours when you need a North Shore Connector earmark.

So committed is Murphy to this system, he votes against every single amendment to strip a pork project from a wasteful spending bill. He’s voted in favor of a $200,000 lobster institute in Maine and a $50,000 mule museum in California. He has a perfect “0” score on the Club for Growth’s “RePork Card,” meaning he has never voted to cut a wasteful spending project.

It is a corrupt practice, but even more importantly it is a practice that corrupts. Members of Congress use these earmarks as kickbacks to those who contribute to their campaign. It’s a common practice that Tim Murphy uses in an uncommonly frequent manner: 61.2 percent of his earmarks in 2010 went directly to campaign contributors, the fourth highest frequency in the entire Congress.

No wonder when it became clear the disgraced lobbying firm called the PMA Group used earmarks to break the law, Murphy was one of just five Republicans who voted against investigating corruption related to their campaign donations and earmark kickbacks.

Earmarks and wasteful spending are the gateway drug to big government as politicians vote for bloated spending bills to protect their pork. Our country is $15 trillion in debt. Big spending bills, Obamacare and federal entitlement spending will cause that number to double over the next 10 years. Career politicians in Washington, D.C. are bankrupting this country one Bridge to Nowhere, one massive spending bill and one empty entitlement promise at a time.

There’s a better solution. We should permanently eliminate all earmarks from the federal budget and reduce discretionary spending. I will never take an earmark or support the wasteful earmarks of other Congressmen who spend Pennsylvania tax dollars on wasteful projects in other states. To save our country we must reduce the size and scope of government, relieve job creators of crushing taxes and regulations and elect public officials who will put the taxpayers before themselves.

This vision of limited government, pro-growth economics and honest governance stands in stark contrast to the self-interested politics of incumbents like Tim Murphy. That’s why anti-earmark and conservative stalwarts Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Rand Paul have both endorsed my candidacy, and like-minded Sen. Pat Toomey is refusing to endorse Tim Murphy.

Now is the time to replace Arlen Specter Republicans like Tim Murphy with limited government conservatives who will put the next generation before the next election.