U.S. Sen. Jon Tester's re-election campaign has fired back at Montana's lone congressman over a story about earmarks and lobbyists that appeared Friday in Beltway Confidential.
“Congressman Dennis Rehberg must have forgotten that the last time this nation approved earmarks, he was the number one earmarker in the Tea Party Caucus," Tester campaign spokesman Aaron Murphy said in an e-mail to The Washington Examiner.
Tester is a first-term Democrat who is being challenged by Republican Rehberg in one of a half-dozen Senate races GOP campaign strategists view as must-wins if their party is to regain a majority in the upper chamber.
The Senate is now controlled 53-47 by Democrats. Rehberg is in his sixth term as Montana’s sole member of the House of Representatives.
In the Friday post, Rehberg's campaign had accused the Democratic Senator from Montana of campaigning "then hypocritically (becoming) one of their biggest defenders in Washington. This type of hypocrisy is a pattern for Tester, and despite getting himself elected on an anti-lobbyist platform, Tester is now the number-one recipient of lobbyist campaign cash in Congress."
The National Journal outed Rehberg, the six-term Montana Republican, in 2010 as having sought more earmarks than any other member of the then-newly formed Tea Party Caucus, but mentioned that Tester had signed on to many of those earmarks:
"Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) takes the prize as the Tea Partier with his name on the most earmarks. Rehberg's office requested funding for 88 projects, either solely or by co-signing earmarks requests with Sens. Max Baucus (D) and Jon Tester (D), at a cost of $100,514,200. On his own, Rehberg requested 20 earmarks valued at more than $9.6 million."