Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Club For Growth Weighs In on Hulshof Spending

The executive director of the Washington-based Club for Growth said that Congressman Kenny Hulshof has one of the worst spending records among Republicans in Congress.
In an interview with the KY3 Political Notebook Tuesday, Club for Growth Executive Director David Keating explained why his group's Congressional spending rankings are relevant in a race for Governor.
The Notebook contacted Keating to find out more about Hulshof's 22 percent Club for Growth ranking, used in a political ad by rival Sarah Steelman.
Keating explained that the score was based on 50 earmark votes in 2007 the Club dubbed "wasteful." He said Hulshof only voted to cut 11 of those projects. "Hulshof's record on pork-barrel spending is pretty bad. Certainly it's one of the worst among the Republicans," Keating said.
He noted that while Hulshof scored a 22% ranking in 2007, 58 Congressman scored over 80%.
When I asked Keating why Congressmen in Washington vote for such pet projects like the Maine Lobster Institute and the San Francisco Urban Center, he explained it this way:
"Basically it's I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine. It's code on Capitol Hill. You have to vote for these things in other districts, to get anything in your own district," said Keating.
Keating said his group has not taken sides in the Hulshof-Steelman primary but said that Hulshof is wrong to imply his spending record isn't relevant in a race for Governor.
"It's about are they going to treat my tax dollars if it's my money? I'd like to see an attitude of spending every dollar carefully, and a lot of people are getting disgusted by it. I mean, the Maine Lobster Institute? How on earth is that a national priority,?" Keating said.
When asked for an example of how spending has impacted another Governor in the country, Keating pointed to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. "He's a Governor that took a really hard line on pork, and it gave him a really rocky ride with his legislature. (In June, Sanford accused his state legislature of breaking the law for passing a budget they knew was not balanced.) But he started to change the culture and the Republican Party there. He's made a lot of progress. It's not easy, but he's very popular with the voters now," Keating explained.
"It comes down to, will you negotiate a really hard line on spending? Sometimes you got to compromise, but voters should know how big of a push over are you," Keating said.

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