Santorum voted for earmarks he criticized
February 20th, 2012
08:12 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum voted for earmarks he criticized

(CNN) - Rick Santorum suggested on Saturday that Mitt Romney was hypocritical to bash the practice of earmarking federal legislation, while also touting his leadership of the Olympics – which benefitted from earmarks.

But a review of Senate shows that earmarks which funded security at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics – headed by Romney – were supported by Santorum, then a senator from Pennsylvania.

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Santorum cast "yea" votes for legislation with three earmarks totaling over $81 million in earmarks supporting the games, which occurred a year after the Sept. 11 attacks. A majority of the funds went to security, and a small portion to drug testing.

He called the federal funding for the games a "bailout" when speaking to voters in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

"One of the things he talks about the most is how he heroically showed up on the scene and bailed out and resolved the problems of the Salt Lake City Olympic games," Santorum said, as a few in the tea party audience chuckled. "He heroically bailed out the Salt Lake City Olympic games by heroically going to Congress and asking them for tens of millions of dollars to bail out the Salt Lake Olympic Games – in an earmark. In an earmark for the Salt Lake Olympic Games."

A spokesperson for Santorum, Hogan Gidley, said regardless of his candidate's vote, he still sees hypocrisy in Romney's position. "Romney said all earmarks are bad. Now is he saying some earmarks are good?" Gidley said. "For him to impugn earmarks by anyone, anywhere, anytime is extremely hypocritical considering Mitt Romney lobbied for federal money on many occasions."

He suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that if Romney continues to tout his experience leading the games, he ought to share credit with Santorum for "bailing out the Olympics."

"Federal dollars had to bail out the Olympics. It wasn't his abilities," Gidley said, referring to Romney. "It was dollars from the taxpayers."

The votes were first reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer.

- CNN's Dana Bash, Kate Bolduan, and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Also see:

Santorum clarifies 'theology' remark

Santorum rips Obama on social agenda

Gay sheriff resigns Romney role after allegations


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. CoJo

    well give Ron Paul and Romney credit, Santorum acknowledged he screwed up while he was in congress. Santorum voted for increasing the debt ceiling multiple times and other big government spending. As he stated, he did what was good for Pennsylvania (spend federal money). All politicians can say the exact same thing. So where is the tea party now? They want a person (Santorum) that has publically acknowledged he screwed up and voted for big government spending? Tea party people are hypocrites if they continue to back a person that has a record to goes against what they want. Only now does he come clean (when someone points it out). Only now he is against it when he is no longer in congress...

    February 21, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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