Citizens Against Government Waste has just released its 2008 Congressional Pig Book Summary, a breakdown of pork-barrel projects that made it through Congress last year. Some $17.2 billion in earmarks are broken down by state, lawmaker, and amount. It’s a quick, easy way to see how much pork your elected officials are grabbing, and how much you, the taxpayer, are paying for projects in other states. The book lists 11,610 projects (vs. 546 in 1991) that were included in just 12 Appropriations Acts for fiscal year 2008.
The Pig Book, first published in 1991, uses the following 7 criteria for evaluating pork. To be included in the book, a project must meet at least one of these crtieria; most meet two or more:
• Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
• Not specifically authorized;
• Not competitively awarded;
• Not requested by the President;
• Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
• Not the subject of congressional hearings; or• Serves only a local or special interest.
Also, don’t miss the book’s Porker Awards. Examples are: “This Pork Was Made for Walking Award” to Representative Virgil Goode (R-Va.) for $98,000 to develop a walking tour of Boydton, Virginia; “The Pig in Sheep’s Clothing Award” to Montana Senators Max Baucaus (D) and Jon Tester (D) for $148,950 for the Montana Sheep Institute; and “The French Kiss Off Award” to Representative Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) for $211,509 in olive fruit fly research in Paris, France.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain has pledged that, if elected, he will not approve any bill that includes earmarks. Judging from The Pig Book, that promise will be very difficult to keep. It is worth noting, however, that the new book shows not one penny of pork attributed to Sen. McCain last year. In contrast, Democratic candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton sponsored 281 projects totaling $296.2 million and Sen. Barack Obama sponsored 53 projects totaling $97.4 million.
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