Rick Brought Home $1B in Pork—and Big Donations
Former senator was a 'vigorous practitioner' of securing earmarks
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2012 10:09 AM CST
Rick Santorum speaks as he campaigns at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Prayer Breakfast in Myrtle Beach, SC, Jan. 15, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – In Rick Santorum's days in the Senate, lawmakers didn't have to disclose their earmarks—but a New York Times analysis shows that Santorum had a lot of them, and that they were often followed by large campaign contributions from the companies they benefited. In one defense bill, for example, Santorum helped secure $124 million in earmarks. In the ensuing election cycle, the beneficiaries donated more than $200,000 to his campaign and PAC.

The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense estimates that Santorum secured more than $1 billion in earmarks from 1995 to 2006, and though the murky disclosures of the time make it hard to compare that directly to his contemporaries, budget analysts say it's safe to call him a "vigorous practitioner." A Santorum adviser denies that campaign contributions played into Santorum's decisions—"We can't control when somebody made a contribution," he reasons.
 

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