The earmark ban has made it hard to run for re-election.
In years past, many lawmakers talked about earmarks as a way to show their concern about local problems, Roll Call’s Meredith Shiner reports.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell represents a case study of just how far Republicans have shifted on this issue.From fiscal years 2008 to 2010, McConnell sponsored $458 million worth of earmarks.
The Kentucky Republican, once a champion of earmarks, ran for re-election with 2008 on a series of 30-second television spots tailored to six media markets and the projects he supported in those areas.
Dubbed “Future,” each ad showed the Republican leader speaking directly to the camera and then providing voice-overs for different shots of the Bluegrass State. In Northern Kentucky, he bragged about the regional airport. In Central Kentucky and Louisville, he talked about the University of Kentucky and Louisville University, respectively. He talked about riverfront development in Paducah, Owensboro and Bowling Green.