Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ICYMI: Arizona Republic columns focus on AZ GOP Senate primary

In case you missed the Sunday edition of the Arizona Republic, there were two columns focused on the primary race for U.S. Senate in Arizona. Both are worth reading.

The first column, by Republic political reporter Dan Nowicki, is a powerful rebuke of an attempt by Wil Cardon’s campaign to dispute Jeff Flake’s successful leadership against earmarking in Congress.

Flake's earmark claim is disputed

By Dan Nowicki, The Arizona Republic

June 17, 2012

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake's anti-earmark credentials are well-established.

References to the Arizona Republican's opposition to the often-wasteful congressional practice of funneling taxpayer money to the home districts of key lawmakers date to 2002 in The Arizona Republic's archives. (He has represented the 6th District since 2001.) In 2006, CBS' "60 Minutes" spotlighted his anti-earmark crusade. U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are on the record crediting his leadership for the earmark moratorium now in effect on Capitol Hill.

But Wil Cardon, Flake's main GOP rival in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, is taking issue with a Flake TV ad thatmakes the claim that Flake "got rid of earmarks."

Cardon's campaign points to Citizens Against Government Waste's "2012 Congressional Pig Book," which lists examples of what it says are earmarks that managed to get through in violation of the moratorium.

"Earmarks are an irresponsible misuse of taxpayer funds, and Wil unequivocally opposes them," said Alyssa Pivirotto, Cardon's spokeswoman. "However, for the Flake campaign to claim 'Jeff Flake got rid of earmarks' is not only disingenuous but enormously misleading."

However, Tom Schatz, president of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste and the man behind the "Pig Book," defended Flake on Friday in an interview with The Republic.

The discrepancy stems from the fact that Citizens Against Government Waste and Congress have always had different definitions of earmarks, Schatz said. Other government agencies have still different definitions, and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has his own, too. Citizens Against Government Waste's definition is probably the strictest, Schatz said.

"Under their (Congress') definition, there are no earmarks," Schatz said. "The progress has been tremendous, even under our definition. To make a blanket statement that just because we found earmarks that any member of Congress, whether it be Jeff Flake or anybody else, is misleading or not telling the truth is really not accurate."

Steve Ellis, vice president of the nonpartisan watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, acknowledged that some lawmakers continue to try to "game the system" and circumvent the moratorium, but he characterized the criticism of Flake as hair-splitting.

"It's pretty fair to say his leadership helped get rid of earmarks," Ellis said.


The second column from Sunday’s Republic worth reading is Bob Robb’s political notebook, sizing up the Senate primary contest. Key excerpts are below:

“…Cardon has been politically inconsequential in Arizona. Except for his bank account, he wouldn't be a factor. There's really no reason to vote for Cardon except to vote against Flake.

“Flake has been a towering national figure for fiscal conservatism and an important catalyst in transforming the Republican Party from the party of Tom DeLay into the party of Paul Ryan. So important a symbol of fiscal rectitude has Flake become that one of John Boehner's commitments in his campaign to become party leader was to appointFlake to the Appropriations Committee.

“…Cardon's campaign is trying to paint a fundamentally false picture of Flake as a typical Washington politician playing the game. Flake's been anything but that. No one has fought the Washington status quo of spend-and-elect more than Flake, or with more success.”


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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