McCain, Kyl, and Flake Battle "Pork," Attempt to Block "No-Bid" Defense Earmarks, Theater Funds in Ohio, Emergency Center in Montana

"Pork" fighters Jon Kyl, John McCain and Jeff Flake don't bring home the bacon for Arizona, and they aren't very successful at bumping other senators or congressmen from the trough, either.

Flake, a Republican, just lost a battle to stop $250,000 in an appropriations bill from going to a planned renovation of the Murphy Theatre in Wilmington, Ohio. Of course, since one man's pork is another's "other white meat," Flake's defeat is a victory for Democratic Representative Michael Turner of Ohio. The Wilmington News Journal reports today:

Turner said he secured the funding at the request of the Murphy Theatre board members and Wilmington city officials. "The funding will go toward restoring the historic theater, including replacing the 50-year-old boiler heating system, repairing the theater roof, and performing electrical work," he said.

The Murphy Theatre has been a focal point of Wilmington's downtown historic district for more than 90 years. It serves as a community center, live theater and arts center for local residents and hosts 35 events in a typical year, attracting more than 6,000 adults and 4,000 children annually.

Flake, who publishes an "Egregious Earmark of the Week" column on his Web site, is also preparing to be steamrolled by Democrats on 540 amendments he's whipping up to block pork in a defense spending bill, says the Arizona Republic's Dan Nowicki.

Earlier this month, Republican Senators Kyl and McCain made news in Montana earlier this month by trying to block $900,000 in a Homeland Security appropriations bill from going to a public safety center. Democratic Senator/Farmer Jon Tester from Montana thought he'd already secured the funds back in June for the police and fire facility in picturesque Whitefish.

The Flathead Beacon reports:

"This is not an egregious expenditure," Tester said. "This is not pork, this is something that will help the country meet its security needs."

Tester went on to point out Whitefish's central location amid millions of federal forest land, Glacier National Park, and an international border to the north.

The Arizona Senators, arguing that the border with all the problems was the one to the south, tried to "hijack" the funds with an amendment that was ultimately unsuccessful, says the Big Sky Business Journal.

Maybe since they're getting theirs, we should get ours.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.