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“To attack an appropriator for spending too much money is kind of on the ridiculous side,” said LaTourette, a former appropriator. “In my opinion, it’d be a cheap shot and the way you push back against that is to take them to task.”
That’s also Rep. Tom Cole’s advice. The Oklahoma Republican appropriator, a former NRCC chairman, has often pushed back against those who criticize his panel members on fiscal issues.
“People can always distort you, but most earmarks, at least 95 percent of them, are defensible,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to counterattack. If they’ve got something to say about you, you’ve got something to say about them.
“I don’t think appropriators live in a special variety of political glass house,” he added.
An earlier version of this article misidentified the subcommittee Rep. Jack Kingston is chairman of.