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Press Release - Newt Gingrich: "Granddaddy of Earmarks"

January 20, 2012

"While serving as speaker, Newt Gingrich created a tidal wave of earmarks that conservatives have been battling ever since. Very simply, Speaker Gingrich played politics with taxpayer money. Now he's trying to convince voters that he's a fiscal conservative. Rick Perry put it best when he called Speaker Gingrich the 'granddaddy of earmarks.'" -Andrea Saul, Romney Campaign Spokeswoman

Earmarks Doubled Under Speaker Gingrich, Opening The Floodgates for the Next Decade:

Under Speaker Gingrich's Tenure, The Number Of Earmarks Roughly Doubled. "Over the next four years, while Gingrich was speaker, the number of earmarks doubled to more than 6,000 projects, while total earmark spending increased by more than 30 percent, according to data from the Congressional Research Service. 'If you take care of the members, they can take care of themselves back home. That was the philosophy,' said former Republican congressman Robert Walker (Pa.), who served as vice chairman of the House Budget Committee at the time." (Kimberly Kindy and Dan Eggen, "Expansion Of Earmarks While Gingrich Was Speaker Could Alienate Tea Party Voters," The Washington Post, 6/8/11)

"The Use Of Earmarks Took Off Under Gingrich And Continued To Escalate Over The Next Decade." "Earmarks are amendments to legislation that direct funds for specific projects, often in the home district of the member requesting them. The use of earmarks took off under Gingrich and continued to escalate over the next decade, peaking at $31 billion for 11,320 projects in 2010, according to congressional data." (Kimberly Kindy and Dan Eggen, "Expansion Of Earmarks While Gingrich Was Speaker Could Alienate Tea Party Voters," The Washington Post, 6/8/11)

"'Speaker Gingrich Set In Motion The Largest Explosion Of Earmarks In The History Of Congress,' Said Tom Schatz Of Citizens Against Government Waste." (Jonathan Karl and Gregory Simmons, "Newt Gingrich: Big Spender," ABC News, 12/15/11)

Gingrich "Helped Establish The Earmark As The Modern Congressman's Favorite Tool Of Seduction." "Newt Gingrich may have played a leading role in the growth of earmarking when as speaker he maneuvered then-representative Bob Livingston of Louisiana to the appropriations chairmanship. Together they helped establish the earmark as the modern congressman's favorite tool of seduction." (Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, "Lend Me Your Earmarks," The Weekly Standard, 11/22/10)

Governor Rick Perry: Gingrich Was The "Granddaddy Of Earmarks." "During a midday campaign stop at an Italian restaurant, Perry accused Newt Gingrich of being the 'granddaddy of earmarks' while he was House speaker." (Sandhya Somashekhar, "Perry Attacks Gingrich, Paul Over Earmarks," The Washington Post, 12/17/11)

Speaker Gingrich Directed Lawmakers to Use Earmarks for Political Purposes to Protect Incumbents:

A 1996 Gingrich Memo Told Appropriators To Consider Elections When Doling Out Earmarks. "Gingrich in a memo earlier this year directed that spending bills be crafted with an eye toward how they might help Republican incumbents. Drafters were asked: 'Are there any Republican members who could be severely hurt by the bill or need a specific district item in the bill?'" (Jim Drinkard, "Republicans Using Control Of Congress As Re-Election Weapon," The Associated Press, 9/28/96)

"Gingrich's Office Asked Powerful Committee Chairmen To Include Earmarks For Members Facing Tough Reelection Bids That Year." "In one May 1996 memo, for example, Gingrich's office asked powerful committee chairmen to include earmarks for members facing tough reelection bids that year — projects that would help them curry favor with their constituents. 'Are there any Republican members who could be severely hurt by the bill or who need a specific district item in the bill?' the memo asked, referring to appropriations legislation." (Kimberly Kindy and Dan Eggen, "Expansion Of Earmarks While Gingrich Was Speaker Could Alienate Tea Party Voters," The Washington Post, 6/8/11)

In Pushing Earmarks, Gingrich "Found The Political Value Of Government Spending." "A year after stressing budget-cutting, House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) appears to have found the political value of government spending, directing that election year spending bills be examined for their effect on House Republicans and on the politically important state of California." (John E. Yang, "Gingrich Prescribes Legislative Political Test," The Washington Post, 6/5/96)

Gingrich Now Decries the Earmark Problem He Helped Create:

"Gingrich Has Turned Sharply Against The Use Of Earmarks Since Leaving Congress, Calling Them A 'Gateway Drug' To Excess Spending." (Kimberly Kindy and Dan Eggen, "Expansion Of Earmarks While Gingrich Was Speaker Could Alienate Tea Party Voters," The Washington Post, 6/8/11)

Gingrich Now: Earmarks "Are Abuses Of Power And Abuses Of The Public Trust." GINGRICH: "These kinds of pork-barrel spending are abuses of power and abuses of the public trust -- not to mention a waste of taxpayer dollars. They cannot be allowed to continue." (Newt Gingrich, "Real Change in Earmarks," Human Events, 2/5/08)

Gingrich Now: Earmarks Are "Undemocratic" And "Corrupt." GINGRICH: "President Bush and the Congress, led by House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio), are leading an all-out fight for real change by ending the undemocratic, corrupt practice of pork-barrel spending through earmarks." (Newt Gingrich, "Real Change in Earmarks," Human Events, 2/5/08)

Mitt Romney, Press Release - Newt Gingrich: "Granddaddy of Earmarks" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/299727

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