Washington, DC – Earmarks appeal to local voters, but their significance can be misleading. Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is being challenged this year by businessman Bruce Lunsford. On the campaign trail McConnell has been touting a twenty million dollar earmark he secured in this year's budget. The earmark is for the cleanup of mustard and nerve gas at Richmond's Bluegrass Army Depot. McConnell says if Kentucky lawmakers! don't clean it up no one will.
But McConnell's earmark is in the 2009 funding bill, which is stalled in a deadlocked Congress and is unlikely to pass. And twenty million dollars is also just a drop in the bucket. A depot spokesman says the project still needs hundreds of millions of dollars. Kentucky Democrat Ben Chandler has been working with McConnell to fund the destruction of the chemicals. He says every drop in the bucket counts.
Lunsford has called McConnell a pork-o-holic. He says if elected he will work to reform the earmarking process.
For Kentucky Public Radio, I'm Matt Laslo, Capitol News Connection, Washington.