Politics & Government

California rep's anti-earmarks stand upsets local GOP officials

SACRAMENTO — As the federal budget season heats up, some Placer County officials are grumbling that Republican Rep. Tom McClintock's ideological opposition to congressional earmarks puts their constituents at a disadvantage.

"It's already hurt us," Supervisor F.C. "Rocky" Rockholm said in a recent interview.

McClintock said he will not seek congressional earmarks — budget requests made outside of the budget process.

"I've made it very clear that I will fight for our district through the normal appropriations process," he said.

In a telephone interview last week, he said requiring earmarks to be public, as President Barack Obama suggested in the State of the Union address, is a "step in the right direction," but he'd prohibit them if he were writing the reform measure.

But the view among several Placer County officials – all of them Republicans in nonpartisan elective offices – is that congressional earmarks aren't inherently dirty.

"The key for any budget expenditure is whether it's reasonable and whether it has a federal nexus," said Supervisor Robert Weygandt.

Roseville Mayor Gina Garbolino said earmarks shouldn't be abused but aren't always bad. "Earmarks have been really good for Roseville," she said.

McClintock said funding for projects should be based solely on their merits, not on seniority or who wields the gavel as the majority party.

"It's basic advocacy; that is how the process is supposed to work," said McClintock, who lives in Elk Grove and is in his first year representing the 4th Congressional District.

Read the full story at sacbee.com