Romney Campaign: National Review: Gingrich Expanded Earmarks As Speaker
“Gingrich’s willingness to allow non–Appropriations Committee House members to push for earmarks ‘really changed how members viewed earmarks,’ says Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) president Thomas Schatz, noting that House members had previously had to appeal to the Appropriations Committee to grant earmarks…. ‘He really set in motion the largest explosion of earmarks in the history of Congress,’ Schatz added of Gingrich.”
As a congressman in the House, Newt Gingrich didn’t just request earmarks: He also fundamentally changed and expanded their use.
Gingrich’s willingness to allow non–Appropriations Committee House members to push for earmarks “really changed how members viewed earmarks,” says Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) president Thomas Schatz, noting that House members had previously had to appeal to the Appropriations Committee to grant earmarks.
“He really set in motion the largest explosion of earmarks in the history of Congress,” Schatz added of Gingrich.
“The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Newt Gingrich sent a memo to appropriators urging them to give special consideration to projects requested by their vulnerable freshmen.”
“One of the things that the Republican majority under Speaker Gingrich did was they democratized earmarks. They made it so that it was available to the rank-and-file lawmaker.”
Earmarks nearly doubled under Gingrich’s tenure as speaker, according to an analysis done by CAGW. In fiscal year 1994, $7.8 billion in earmarks was included in the budget. By fiscal year 1997, that number had skyrocketed to $14.5 billion.
While congressional members weren’t required to attach their names to earmark requests until 2007, Gingrich has admitted publicly two earmarks he’d requested. “$112,400,000 added by the House for two KC-130J transport planes at the request of then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
The 1998 edition revealed that Gingrich had successfully nabbed $3 million for a “21st Century National Security Study Group” that would “do what is already being done at federal civilian and military agencies and countless other privately funded research institutes across the country; that is, to discern future national security concerns and the appropriate implementation strategies.”
“I think all of us recognize that Newt is the father of contemporary earmarking,” said fiscal-conservative Arizona congressman Jeff Flake. “Earmarks exploded during the Newt era. And not just the number, but the fact that members, by that time, after the Newt era, kind of considered earmarks their entitlement.”
In another call, John McCain aggressively bashed Gingrich’s willingness to use earmarks. “I served in the House of Representatives with Newt Gingrich,” the Arizona senator said, ”and when I went on to the United States Senate, I saw these earmarks explode. I saw the corruption also that resulted from it. It was infuriating and there was a few of us who stood up to it at the time.”
View Full Press Release : https://mittromney.com/news/press/2012/01/national-review-gingrich-expanded-earmarks-speaker