Clinton can boast wealth of earmarks

Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has secured more earmarks in the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill than any other Democrat except for panel Chairman Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard National security leaders: Trump's Iran strategy could spark war Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms MORE (D-Mich.).

The bill contains about $5.4 billion in earmarks, or projects not requested by the Pentagon. With their slim majority, the Democrats on the panel claimed two-thirds of that sum. Clinton is among their more junior members.

By contrast, Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Chance the Rapper works as Lyft driver to raise money for Chicago schools Americans are safer from terrorism, but new threats are arising MORE (D-Ill.), also a Democratic presidential candidate and Clinton’s rival for the nomination, has only one request in the defense bill.

Obama, who is not a member of the committee, made a request along with several other members for a Department of Education program for children with severe disabilities.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainComey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate Is there difference between good and bad online election targeting? MORE (R-Ariz.), a presidential candidate and the panel’s ranking member, has long opposed pork-barrel projects and has no earmark requests. Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Dems outraising Republicans in final stretch of midterms Election Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight MORE (D-Mo.), a new member of the panel, also refrained. The two have sponsored earmark-disclosure language as part of the bill’s markup.

In the 2008 defense authorization committee report, Senate authorizers published a list of projects requested by lawmakers as well as projects agreed upon by the entire panel. The list does not yet include the companies that would benefit from the extra money.

But several senators, including Levin and Clinton, have already touted their achievements in press releases listing companies in their state that would benefit from the requests.

Clinton received 26 earmarks worth about $148.4 million total, most of which were also sought by Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (D-N.Y.). Clinton and Schumer agreed several years ago to go after projects together, according to several sources.

While Schumer has more seniority, Clinton has much higher name recognition and committee membership, which makes her better positioned to deliver projects for the state.

According to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, Clinton has secured 360 earmarks worth a combined $2.2 billion from 2002 to 2006 in all spending and authorization bills.

“She has learned how to play the game and to use her power on the committee to bring home dollars for her constituents,” said Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “She knows how to toot her own horn with the constituents, and that will likely play into her national campaigns.”

Ellis added that Clinton “micro-targets” her press releases to “seem part of the community.” Through these personal, localized messages, she can build political capital, he added.

“She is willing to legislatively roll up her sleeves and bring home the bacon for her constituents, which she can translate into working for the people across the country,” Ellis said. “It is also her recognition that she still has a day job as a senator from New York.”

Clinton’s beneficiaries include defense giant Northrop Grumman, which secured $6 million for the AN/SPQ-9B radar; New York-based Telephonics, which won $5 million for a standardized aircraft wireless intercom system for the National Guard Black Hawk helicopter fleet; Plug Power Inc., another New York state company, which got $3 million for fuel cell power technology; and Alliant Tech Systems (ATK), which won $3.5 million for the X-51 B robust scramjet research.

ATK is based in Utah, but it has a tactical propulsion-and-controls division in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

Clinton, together with Schumer, was also able to secure $2 million for blast trauma detection research.

Meanwhile, Levin’s tally far exceeded Clinton’s take: 45 earmarks worth about $210 million.

A good portion of Levin’s requests focus on combat vehicle and automotive research as well as several energy initiatives, such as fuel cells, portable power sources and solar cells.

The Army’s Tank and Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Command (TARDEC) and its National Automotive Center are located in Warren, Mich. TARDEC is the leading laboratory for research and development of advanced military vehicle technologies for the Department of Defense. Some of Levin’s requests were split with Michigan’s junior senator, Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Republican Senate candidate apologizes after swastika spotted in campaign ad Poll: Dem Stabenow has 9-point lead over Republican James in Michigan Senate race MORE (D).

Among other senior members of the committee, former Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) and Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' Five changes Democrats will seek at Pentagon if they win power The Hill's Morning Report — Historic, high-stakes day for Kavanaugh and Ford MORE (D-R.I.) each had 24 earmarks in the defense authorization bill. But their requests included two of the highest plus-ups that the panel approved during the bill’s markup: $480 million more for an alternate engine for the multi-service, multi-national Joint Strike Fighter, and $470 million more for the Virginia class submarine advance procurement.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMajor overhauls needed to ensure a violent revolution remains fictional Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees GOP has always been aggressive in trying to weaponize the system of judicial nominations MORE (D-Nev.) also received a hefty share in the defense bill: 17 earmarks worth $72.1 million. Among his requests are $10 million for an improved chemical agent monitor; $5 million for a helicopter autonomous-landing system; and $3 million for an electrochemical field-deployable system for potable water generation.
The last item was a joint request with Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), who is a member of the Armed Services Committee. Reid has several other requests with Ensign, including $1 million for a cannon recoil reduction system.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.) had eight requests.

Overall, the Democrats, counting Joe Lieberman (Conn.), have 325 earmarks to the Republicans’ 171. The committee also initiated 62 additional projects, bringing the total to 558.

The Senate considers earmarks distinct from the equipment and projects that appear on the military services’ so-called unfunded requirements list, so such funding is not disclosed as an earmark. A good example is the additional $4.1 billion for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle approved by the committee. The committee also included $575 million in the earmark requests for MRAPs for the Army, Air Force and Special Operations Command as part of the Iraq supplemental funding for 2008.

Many of the Senate panel’s earmarks differ from those approved in the House version of the defense authorization bill, so conferees will most likely have to adjust the funding. After final passage of the authorization bill, appropriators will use the legislation when they craft their defense-spending bill. All earmarks approved in the defense appropriations bills are assured funding.