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Mon Jan 16, 2012, 12:40 PM

Donors Gave as Santorum Won Earmarks [View all]

The announcements flowed out of Rick Santorumís Senate office: a $3.5 million federal grant to Piasecki Aircraft to help it test a new helicopter propeller technology; another $3.5 million to JLG Industries to bolster its bid to build all-terrain forklifts for the military; $1.4 million to Medico Industries to upgrade equipment for its munitions work.

Each of the news releases represented an earmark or, in some cases, multiple ones ó the practice by which members of Congress set aside money in federal spending bills for what critics often denounce as pet projects back home.

Mr. Santorum, who picked up the endorsement of a group of prominent Christian conservative leaders on Saturday, has been trying to persuade conservatives to coalesce behind his candidacy. His rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have seized upon his spending record in an effort to cast doubt on his fiscal conservative bona fides.

But an examination of Mr. Santorumís earmark record sheds light on another aspect of his political personality, one that is at odds with the reformer image he has tried to convey on the trail: his prowess as a Washington insider.

A review of some of his earmarks, viewed alongside his political donations, suggests that the river of federal money Mr. Santorum helped direct to Pennsylvania paid off handsomely in the form of campaign cash.


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