DECEMBER 10, 2007
Although she is publicly a critic of earmarking, Hillary Clinton has secretly used the controversial practice to deliver billions of taxpayer dollars to dozens of corporations that later provided hefty contributions to her campaign.
Since being elected New York senator in 2001 Clinton has become a master at using earmarks ($2.3 billion), which enables lawmakers to bypass the normal budget process and sneak last-minute spending provisions into legislation, to benefit her personally.
She has allocated huge amounts of federal funds to nearly 60 corporations—including real estate developers and defense contractors—that later thanked her by making more than $1 million in campaign contributions.
An example is a major real estate developer that got $1 billion in government-backed financing for a highly opposed shopping mall project in Syracuse thanks to Clinton. The developer showed his appreciation with tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the former First Lady’s campaign.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clinton has easily earmarked $1.4 billion for defense contractors in her state, including $140 million this year alone. In return, the companies have contributed nearly $300,000 to her campaign.
Three trustees at the Manhattan-based New School University, the recipient of a multi million-dollar earmark for a defense mapping project, are major Clinton donors who have each raised at least $100,000 for her campaign. In fact, Norman Hsu, the jailed Chinese businessman who raised nearly $1 million for Clinton, was a trustee of the school before being indicted on fraud charges.
Clinton is by far the number one pork spender of all 2008 presidential candidates, Democrat or Republican. Of appropriations bills that have passed in the Senate so far this year, Clinton earmarked 216 projects for a total of $236.6 million compared to Connecticut’s Christopher Dodd ($112.8 million), Illinois’ Barack Obama ($90.4 million) and Delaware’s Joseph Biden ($70.8 million). Arizona Senator John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, opposes earmarks and doesn’t write them.
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