In the end, none of the requests received funding, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Bachmann continues to blast the stimulus, saying in her State of the Union response in January that "the president's strategy for recovery was to spend a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus program, fueled by borrowed money."
"Just because you're against government spending doesn't mean you shouldn't get any funds you're legally entitled to," said Grubbs, a former chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. "Lobbying for basic transportation needs in your district is what your job is as a congresswoman. If she was lobbying to put a rainforest inMinnesota, I think people would see that as disingenuous."
Bachmann told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in November that transportation projects should not be considered earmarks. "There's a big difference between funding a tea pot museum and a bridge over a vital waterway," she said.
Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan budget watchdog group, said such reasoning was "ridiculous," adding: "That sounds like a pretty big loophole to me."
As Bachmann pursues the presidency, Ellis said, her record will face tougher scrutiny.
"If you want to talk about the debt and deficit and reigning in wasteful spending, you have to look in the mirror and make sure you're living a fiscally pure life as well," he said.
Photos: Potential 2012 GOP candidates