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    ‘Pig book’ exposes $23 billion in pork spending, lists lawmakers behind the earmarks

    By Samantha-Jo Roth,

    30 days ago

    A group of Republican House members stood alongside a nonprofit organization Wednesday as it released the 32nd edition of the “Congressional Pig Book,” an annual, published compilation of “pork-barrel” projects in the federal budget , in an effort to shed light on what they view as wasteful pet projects.

    The nonprofit group Citizens Against Government Waste has published a collection of pork-barrel spending every year since 1991. The book features lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who the authors say are responsible for spending earmarks , known as community project funding , which direct federal dollars to specific “pet projects” in members’ home states and districts.

    The authors hosted an event, featuring a live pig named Poppy, to raise awareness over the number of earmarks. The group found a total of 8,222 earmarks in the past fiscal year, which cost $22.7 billion. Several House Republicans, including Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), and Ralph Norman (R-SC), spoke out to slam the spending practice.

    “If we are going to avoid the terrible fate of so many nations before us, we have to end congressional hypocrisy, and earmarks are the most glaring part of that,” McClintock said at the event.

    In 2021, Democrats ended a 10-year moratorium on earmarks. House Republicans voted to keep earmarks for spending bills in December 2022, which was a defeat for Republicans looking to rein in spending on “pork.” Republicans had banned earmarks when they took control of the House in 2010.

    CAGW President Tom Schatz highlighted the findings by his team, including 11% more earmarks than in fiscal 2023. Alaska, Main, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and West Virginia received the most earmarks, according to the research. Schatz emphasized more could be done to stop earmarks from continuing in the future.

    “If we go back a few years to [former GOP House Speaker] John Boehner, who was adamantly opposed to earmarks, who led the Republican Conference to abolish them in the House of Representatives, it can be done,” Schatz said. “It has been done. It will need to be done again if we’re ever going to get our spending back under control.”

    Here are some lawmakers who were called out for their “mad pursuit of pork.”

    The Whole Hog Award

    Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) received this title for 231 earmarks totaling $575,580,000, the highest amount received.

    The House of Pork Award

    This title went to Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), who received 13 earmarks, totaling $270,330,940, which was the most in the House of Representatives.

    The You Cannot be Serious Award

    Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) were called out for their earmark of $1,750,000 for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

    The Singing a Sour Note for Taxpayers Award

    Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) received this award as a result of their earmarks for their respective opera houses in their states, which were a combined $739,000. The funding included $500,000 from Sanders for the Vergennes Opera House in Vermont and $239,000 from Collins for the Bangor Opera House in Maine.

    The Crabby Pork Award

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) took home this award for an earmark of $4,000,000 for the Alaska King Crab Enhancement Project.

    The We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat Award

    Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) received an earmark of $190,000 for a shark repellant study at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. The criticism comes after a number of shark attacks in Florida over the weekend.

    The Presidential Library Industrial Complex Award

    Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) received this acknowledgment for an earmark totaling $17,500,000 for construction at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas.

    The Fiscal Unfitness Award

    Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) received this award for an earmark of $500,000 she received for the restoration of a historic gymnasium in Madison, Mississippi.

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