Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Toomey Challenges Sestak: Cut Waste, Earmarks

Earlier this week, we joined Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate and former small business owner Pat Toomey at a press conference in front of Independence Hall where Toomey called on his opponent, Congressman Joe Sestak, to return campaign contributions he took in violation of his own earmark pledge and to sign Citizens Against Government Waste’s “No Pork” pledge.

According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer last week, Joe Sestak made a pledge on his campaign website to return any contributions made to his campaign by people who requested and received earmarks through his congressional office.

His website reads: “If an organization or individual has made a request for an appropriations project, and has made a contribution to his campaign, he returns that contribution.”

But according to the same Inquirer article, Congressman Sestak violated his own pledge, taking $119,650 in contributions from people who received earmarks from him. Today, Pat Toomey called on Congressman Sestak to live up to his pledge and return the $119,650.

Pat also called on Congressman Sestak to sign Citizens Against Government Waste’s No Pork pledge, which Pat has already signed.

Congressman Sestak has said multiple times that he supports earmark reform, but he has taken no demonstrable steps to put his words into action. In fact, he continues to violate his own pledge to Pennsylvania taxpayers and has refused to get rid some of the most outrageous and wasteful earmarks in Congress, including:

$325,000 for the Institute for Seafood Studies in Thibodaux, Louisiana. (RC #382, 06/18/09)$250,000 for the Monroe County Farmer's Market in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. (RC #631, 07/23/09)$150,000 for the restoration of Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York. (RC #472, 06/26/09)$100,000 for the Myrtle Beach Conference Center in South Carolina. (RC #567, 07/16/09)$1 million for potato research in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. (RC # 507, 07/09/09)$50,000 for the National Mule and Packers Museum in California. (RC #700, 06/24/07)$2 million to establish the "Rangel Center for Public Service" at City College of New York, requested by none other than Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY). (RC #678, 07/19/07)

“How can Pennsylvanians trust Congressman Sestak when he says one thing and does another?” Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik asked. “He promised to return earmark-related contributions, but he has yet to return $119,000 uncovered by the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also promised to support earmark reform, but he has refused to sign a No Pork pledge and has voted to spend taxpayer dollars on wasteful projects like concert halls and the Mule and Packers Museum in California. Now is the time for Congress Sestak to put his money where his mouth is.” Photo copyright 2010 by Dan Cirucci.

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