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GOP2012: Republican debate, October 11th, 2011
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Mitt Romney Will Say Anything: Earmarks and Federal Funding

February 22, 2012 at 9:06 p.m. ET

 

Mitt Romney will do or say anything to get elected, even conceal his long record of seeking earmarks. While Romney said tonight that he would put a ban on earmarks, he aggressively sought earmarks as governor of Massachusetts and even used a $1.3 billion federal bailout when he was president of the Salt Lake City Olympics. His rhetoric tonight cannot hide his long record of embracing pork-barrel spending.

ROMNEY ADMITS HE HAS ASKED FOR FEDERAL MONEY AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY AND BRAGGED ABOUT THE EARMARKS HE PLANNED TO BRING BACK TO MASSACHUSETTS

Romney: “I’d Be Embarrassed If I Didn’t Always Ask For Federal Money Whenever I Got The Chance.” Romney said, "I'd be embarrassed if I didn't always ask for federal money whenever I got the chance.” [Boston Globe, 7/18/06]

  • 2002: Romney Touted The “Record Amount Of Money” He Got From The Federal Government For The Olympics And Said “That’s The Same Thing I’ll Do As Governor Of Massachusetts--Get More Money From The Federal Government.” In a gubernatorial debate with Shannon O’Brien and the minor party candidates, Romney said, “I need a little chance on the idea that the government bailing out the Olympics…We cut our costs by $200 million . The federal government actually provided a record amount of money to us for security and transportation –that was a separate area. That’s the same thing I’ll do as governor of Massachusetts—get more money from the federal government.” [2002 Massachusetts Governor’s Debate, WB56, 10/9/02]
  • 1994: Romney Said He Would Bring More Federal Money For Projects Back To Massachusetts Than Ted Kennedy. “But, Romney said, after Kennedy’s 32 years in the Senate, Massachusetts needs a change in leadership. Romney accused the senator of not bringing much in the way of public works dollars to Massachusetts for all the dollars the state sends to Washington. ‘I would be working to make sure Massachusetts gets its fair share,’ Romney said. ‘That’s part of the job.’” [Boston Globe, 7/13/94]

ROMNEY CREATED A STATE OFFICE DEDICATED TO OBTAINING FEDERAL DOLLARS AND UNDER ROMNEY, MASSACHUSETTS JUMPED UP 9 SPOTS ON THE CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE’S “PORK LIST”

Romney Established A Federal Grants Office To Scour For Opportunities For Federal Funding And Bolster The State’s Presence In Washington, D.C.  “Not long ago, however, he took a much different view of federal spending. Far from decrying Washington's spendthrift ways, Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, sought to position his state to hoover up every federal dollar it could—and to use that money to help solve a state budget crisis. According to memos, emails, and other records now housed in the state archives, the Romney administration made the pursuit of federal funding a top priority, establishing a federal grants office to scour for opportunities and bolstering its presence in DC by retaining a powerful lobbying shop for help.” [Kroll, Mother Jones, 11/30/11]

  • Romney Aide Cindy Gillespie, Who Oversaw Federal-State Relations: “The Washington Office Exists For One Reason: To Increase The Amount Of Federal Funding Coming Back To The State.”  “Among [Romney’] first hires was Cindy Gillespie, a former congressional staffer and Washington attorney, to be his chief of legislative and intergovernmental affairs. Romney met Gillespie in Salt Lake City when he was running the 2002 Winter Olympics--and she was winning copious federal dollars to support the games. She knows that she's got a tough job on her hands. ‘The Washington office exists for one reason: to increase the amount of federal funding coming back to the state,’ says Gillespie, who oversees federal-state relations from Boston and is considered one of Romney's closest aides. Unfortunately, she admits, ‘It's a very difficult environment because no one has any money, including the federal government.’” [Commonwealth Magazine, Spring 2003]

As Governor, Romney Boosted Massachusetts’s Ranking On Citizens Against Government Waste’s Annual “Pork List” From 48th In 2003 To 39th In 2004 And 2005. “Internal documents show the administration bemoaning its low ranking in an annual ‘pork list; detailing which states brought home the most federal bacon, and aggressively planning to boost that ranking. Which they did: Between 2003, when Romney took office, and 2006, Massachusetts climbed as high as nine spots in the pork rankings… Massachusetts jumped from 48th on Citizens Against Government Waste's 2003 pork list to 39th in 2004, with federal appropriations increasing from $107.8 million to $120.8 million. Massachusetts held onto 39th again in 2005, bringing in $150,372,000 from Washington. In 2006, the state dropped to 46th on the pork list, with its annual haul totaling $116,808,459.” [Kroll, Mother Jones, 11/30/11]

REALITY: THE OLYMPICS WERE BAILED OUT BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHILE ROMNEY WAS HEAD

GAO: The Federal Government Provided Or Planned To Provide About $1.3 Billion For The 2002 Winter Olympic Games In Salt Lake City. “Specifically, the federal government provided about $75 million in funding and support for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and about $609 million for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, and has provided or plans to provide about $1.3 billion for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.” [GAO, 9/2000]

  • The Salt Lake Olympic Games “Got More Federal Cash Than Any Previous U.S. Olympics.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/13/11]

McCain Called The Amount Of Federal Money Going To The Olympics “A National Disgrace” And Said There Should Be “A Federal Investigation” While Romney Defended The Federal Funds.  McCain: “But you’ve got well over $1 billion that’s just a rip-off of the taxpayers, and, you know, is really a national disgrace…Actually, there should be a federal investigation.” ROMNEY: But Senator McCain, I believe, raises a very good question.  What should the role of the federal government be with regards to the Olympics?  Should it provide the security? Should it provide the highways and bridges necessary to get people to venues? In my view, the answer is, unequivocally, yes.” [CBS Evening News (6:30 PM ET) – CBS, February 9, 2002]

  • McCain Called The Money For The Sale Lake City Olympics A “Rip-Off” For Taxpayers Because It Paid For Land Swaps And Roads To Benefit Developers. According to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “It’s one thing to rip off the taxpayers for a billion and a half, but then you also enrich developers for tens millions more through land swaps and building roads for them.” [NPR, “Weekend Edition,” 2/3/02]
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