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The earmarks Adam Schiff delivered for donors

The earmarks Adam Schiff delivered for donors

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is running for Senate on this sanitized version of earmarks, banking on the idea these locally directed spending projects have been rehabilitated with the public. | Francis Chung/POLITICO

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Adam Schiff is unapologetically touting his commitment to earmarks for local causes — like homelessness and drug treatment programs — as he seeks the Senate seat long held by Dianne Feinstein. The 12-term House Democrat and darling of the anti-Trump left is even calling out his closest rival in the race, Rep. Katie Porter, for her opposition to pork-barrel spending. But Schiff has offered an incomplete and potentially misleading account of his record on earmarks. A close examination of that record reveals that he secured generous earmarks for corporate beneficiaries early in his career, including at times for recipients who were also major donors to his political campaigns. Earmarks have emerged as an unlikely source of intense debate in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate primaries. Schiff’s sales pitch — that earmarks are essential to making Washington work for California — hearkens back to his early days in the House, before both parties raced to crack down on the practice. Porter said she views the spending items as a symbol of broken Washington and doesn’t file requests for them. A POLITICO review of congressional earmarks and political contributions found that in addition to the money for homelessness and drug treatment, Schiff also steered millions to for-profit companies and raised tens of thousands for his House reelection campaigns from corporate executives and people connected to them. The review was mostly limited to publicly available data from the brief three-year window when corporate earmarks were disclosed. Schiff said he doesn’t have a complete accounting of his earmarks.

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