Earmarks have become a bit of an issue...not raised by a candidate...but because of assertions by reporters. The issue has been used as a bludgeon against anti-tax, anti-pork candidate Doug Hoffman.
Earmarks are those expenditures added to a bill, that are not related to the bill itself. In other words, a bill regulating poultry will contain a hidden line item for a Lawrence Welk Museum in the district of some Congressman looking to get federal funding into his district.
There are also earmarks for things like ranges at Fort Drum.......But from what I am told its not quite the same.
Some years ago during the era Dave Martin was in Congress and Fort Drum was expanding, earmarks were a way for the Army to get needed improvements without requesting it as part of the President's proposed Federal Budget.
It was a bit of a wink of the eye agreement that the administration would get the range they wanted but they wouldn't have to ask for it in their budget request. Then it would be added as an add-on....now known as an earmark.
While some good government groups list all such add-ons as "pork"....these items for federal installations like Drum are not really "pork".
It's just a way of getting these items funded without going through the normal budget review process.
So when a fledgling candidate like Hoffman says no pork...or no earmarks...he needs to clarify. It's projects that are no business of the federal government he is talking about.
Hoffman got hung up on the broad-brush slogan..."no earmarks."
It's now being used to suggest he is anxious to punish the military....That's a stretch and the people saying it know it is.
Lesson learned for Hoffman.....but that's what can happen when you run as a non-politician. His naivite is charming...but does leave him open to attacks....
The earmark dust-up was hopefully a lesson in politics....and governing is, after all, politics.