If you are fed up with earmark spending

Then choose a president who is fed up, too. Senator John McCain did not support ANY earmark spending in FY08. Zero. Nothing. Not at all.

Hillary Clinton supported $342.4 million. Barack Obama supported $91.4 million.

Only about 15 of the 550 or so members of Congress rejected earmark spending. Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold was one of them.

Wisconsin results:

Obey (D) $102,137,950
Kagen (D) $25,547,700
Baldwin (D) $16,443,500
Petri (R) $12,999,000
Kind (D) $11,433,000
Moore (D) $7,482,300
Ryan (R) $5,396,000
Sensenbrenner (R) $932,000
Kohl (D) $153,438,700

CNN covered the Washington Post article on the report by Taxpayers for Common Sense. You can download the database if you have Excel for viewing.


  1. I don’t see that on the database. I’m sure you can find it somewhere if you try.

  2. “Uncle Jimmy’s bring home the bacon”???? He’s at less than $1MM. He must be eating all that bacon before he gets home.

  3. I bet Obey is bringing even more in now that he’s the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

  4. Shawn, not one person I know under the age of 30 would even know there’s a House Appropriations committee much less who’s chair. You amaze me. I don’t agree with you a lot, but you still amaze me.

  5. I had the fortune of meeting with the entire WI congressional delegation at a series of meetings last fall in DC. Both Obey and Kagen were unabashed about the earmarks they would be bringing home and about their Bush-bashing!

  6. Thanks Cindy…It’s just the sorta stuff that interests me, and that we all should keep up on. Now as for other committee chairs, i can’t really help you there.

    Hopefully we’ll be kicking out two of the biggest Pork-barrel lovers come November. They’re both from Alaska:

    Sen. Ted Stevens
    Rep. Don Young

    Both have (or are going to have) strong primary challenges and strong general election challenges. Rep. C.W. Bill Young is also one of the biggest bacon-bringers.

    Sen. Robert Byrd has always been a pork lover, but now he’s chair of the Senate Appropriations.


    This article has some good stuff on Ted Stevens. His pork accounted for 4% of all appropriations in 2005. Wow!

  7. Now, I am not an advocate of earmarks, but I think Stevens/Young are just playing the game. Look at the dramatic change here – http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/22685.html from where Alaska was in the 80s. Contrast that with the do-nothing Feingold/Kohl duo and look how little we get back for our federal taxes.

  8. This is what I hoped to open up. It’s kind of the “everybody’s doing it” argument that never worked on my mom.

    If there’s pork, should we be fighting for every dime? OR – As a matter of principle, don’t take it.

  9. I look at it this way. It’s gonna happen, and my federal taxes aren’t going to change either way. Might as well at least get what you put in. Or, we could just be like Milton Friedman and joke “Thank God we don’t get all the government we pay for…”

  10. I say get rid of all pork. My logic says states like Hawaii, Alaska, West Virginia etc. end up not putting a lot of money into the system and getting a lot out.

    All three are functions of having long-serving Senators (and reps.) Byrd (D-WV) is the oldest in the senate. Inouye (D-HI) and Akaka (D-HI) are fricken old too. And we already talked about Stevens (R-AL).

    Cut all that spending out of the budget. Pay off debt. Once debt is gone, reduce federal taxes. The states themselves can tax more then if/when needed.

    BrkfldDad, I want to augment your statement a little. Wisconsin suffers from 1 do-nothing Senator Kohl and one take-nothing Senator Feingold.

    If a Democrat is elected president and maybe even with McCain too in his 2nd term (if he makes it…) when he doesn’t have to answer to tax-and-spend neocons, earmarks will be caput.

    Obama (D-IL) and Coburn (R-OK) passed landmark transparency legislation last year that doesn’t allow anonymous earmark “riders” on bills. That will help some.

    That’s why Stevens (R-King of pork) threatened to quit his job when they tried taking away the funding to his bridge to nowhere.

  11. We were just having a little hometown cheering section here for Coburn (R-OK). He was on the $0 list, too.

  12. Probably the most far righter in the Senate, but stellar on pork. It’s funny to see one of the most far left and the farthest right guys coming together for a common cause, isn’t it?

  13. It’s gonna happen, and my federal taxes aren’t going to change either way.
    Well, that’s the rub with earmarks–they aren’t new money, just specific directions about where previously-allocated dollars should be spent. Earmark reform is, at best, symbolic, and, at worst, a power-shift away from the representatives of the people to unelected fed bureaucrats.

    Which is not to say that bureaucrats don’t know what they’re doing or that Congressfolk know better. It is just to say that spending cuts must happen much, much earlier in the budget process than at the earmark stage.

    (And did everyone see that Bush’s new budget is full of earmarks? After his public promises to veto every one from Congress? Yeesh.)

  14. Shawn – far left and farthest rightt…you’ve made me think of something else to write about.

    I have a book for you when you’re in town next.

    Folkbum – good point about restricting the spending earlier in the budget process.

  15. One of the awful things is that Alaska is awash in oil revenues and is running a big budget surplus, and at the same time they are hauling in the bacon. Our system is kaput with a “k”!