Rand Paul, the next Republican US senator from Kentucky, has done an about-face on earmarks even before taking office.
In an interview published over the weekend with the Wall Street Journal, Paul signaled a major backtrack on a core campaign promise: cutting federal earmarks. The promise is a hallmark of Republican candidates of all stripes, who advocate that a smaller government is in the national interest and that money doled out for special progress is tantamount to backroom dealing.
“In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad “symbol” of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky’s share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it’s doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night,” Paul told the Journal for an interview published Saturday.
“I will advocate for Kentucky’s interests,” he added.
The comments markedly diverge from a promise still live on his campaign website, titled, “Earmark ban coming?”
“Rand Paul has made a ban on wasteful earmark spending in Washington D.C. one of the key points of his campaign,” Paul’s campaign wrote on his website. “He has supported Sen. Jim DeMint’s vocal support for an earmark ban and he supports news that House Democrats are even coming around on the idea of a partial ban.”
“The Tea Party movement is an effort to get government under control,” Paul is quoted as saying on his site. “I’m running to represent Kentuckians and to dismantle the culture of professional politicians in Washington. Leadership isn’t photo-ops with oversized fake cardboard checks. That kind of thinking is bankrupting our nation. Senator DeMint understands that and has taken action to stop it.”