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.