Be a Pig! Be a Pig!

Citizens Against Government Waste is out with its annual “Congressional Pig Book” today. Here’s the lowdown on this past year’s pork:

In fiscal year 2008, Congress stuffed 11,610 projects (the second highest total ever) worth $17.2 billion into the 12 appropriations bills. That is a 337 percent increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007. Alaska led the nation with $556 in pork per capita ($380 million total), followed by Hawaii with $221 ($283 million) and North Dakota with $208 ($133 million).

You can search the database by state, party, bill, keyword, or member of Congress. Here’s how CAGW rates pork:

As in previous years, all of the items in the Congressional Pig Book Summary meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:

• 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.

Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) is this year’s big pig topping the Senate list at 245 projects for a grand total of $892.2 million dollars. On the House side, Mississippi’s former Representative-now-Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) racked up the most cash at $176.3 mil, but Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has reportedly packed in the most projects at 98 for a total of $149.1 million.

The good journalist in me is required to point out that pork is often subjective, and when you call these offices to get reaction to the pig book, you often get well-crafted and reasonable explanations for even the most seemingly frivolous expenditures.

started on-air as a sports reporter in Hagerstown, Md and was a one-woman-band - shooting, writing, editing, and working the teleprompter with my foot. I moved to NYC in 1999 and joined - the world's first interactive TV network. Pseudo died Sept 2000, and the following years were filled with a series for Discovery International, a pilot for the History Channel, a pilot for the Travel Channel, and countless auditions. Client feedback research for a big investment bank paid the bills. In 2004, I took a gig with Kuma and made news reports for their reality-based video games. CNN called February 2005, and on Valentine's Day, I started covering the Internet as a beat on national TV. I left cable news in 2007, started this site, wrote a little for Americablog, and threw down the gauntlet. I said I'd leave TV to help fix health care if someone was taking a real stab at it. Someone was. I became the National Communications Director for Health Care for America Now. That was June 2008, and almost 2 years later - on March 25, 2010 - we won health care reform. I am currently at liberty.

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