cash Government Spending - Earmarks

Many believe that the practice of Congressional earmarks in Federal legislation is a serious taxation issue. People, who believe in government spending austerity or sunshine in government, see earmarks as a shining example of corruption and waste in government. Some charge that the earmarking process is a breakdown in priority based decision-making by our governments. Time magazine reported that in 2006 there were 13,012 earmarks which was four times the number in 1995. These earmarks cost $67.1 billion dollars. That was more than triple the amount spent in 1996. "Numbers.", Time. 15 January, 2007:page 20.

In 1995, there were five earmarks in the Labor, Health and Human Services bill, amounting to $2.4 million. By FY 2005, the number of earmarks attached to this bill had soared to 3,014 or $1.18 billion. Gail Russell Chaddock, The Christian Science Monitor August 22, 2006.

Porked Earmarks for Profit - exposes former Speaker D Hasert, Rep P Kanjorski, & Rep. K Calvert.

One Lawmaker’s Waste Is Another’s Namesake | 12,000 earmarks worth $24.7 billion in 2007 | Roll Call's Earmark Report | Senate Directs Justice Department to Probe Suspicious Florida Earmark

Children's Health Yields to the Senators From Pork | Defense spending bill packed with $11.8B in earmarks

The 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services bill has 1,038 earmarks at a cost of $562.9 million. Overall funding in the bill is $605.5 billion, making it the largest non-defense appropriations measure. The amount allocated is $9.1 billion more than the President’s request and $59.8 billion more than FY 2007 Budget. Taxpayers for Common Sense.


$ Earmarks in Congress Sen Coburn

$ Watch: Sen. Coburn discusses the Senate Ethics legislation He opposes earmarks that benefit members, their family members or staff.

$ Earmarks, Pork and Federal Budgets documentary video on PBS

Senate narrows scope of ethics reform key changes aren't being practiced behind closed doors. CSM 10/5/07

$ Taxpayers are helping to pay for corporate executives to travel to a destination golf resort in the hard-luck town of Bandon, Ore.

$ Earmark Reform? | $ Why earmarks matter. | $ Loading the Pork Train - A case study of why earmarks may be getting out of hand

$ $2 Million Super-Paint Funding Questioned | $ Bridges or Earmarks? pbl | $ 'Earmark' cash aids Dem freshmen

$ Read: It's a Tough Life - The secret new way of earmarks. by Kimberley A. Strassel

$ Earmarks at Congresspedia | $ Up to their Earmarks | $ Earmark reform podcast

$ 2007 : More Than 1100 Earmarks in House Commerce-Justice-Science Spending Bill 2007 | $ WasteBasket - on government waste |

$ Earmarking the war machine 2007 | $ $7.5B earmarks unclaimed | $ What's in your wallet? | $ Controversial Boon For D.C. Neighborhood

$Tempest Over A Teapot Museum | $ Inside Obama's Pork Barrel | $ Do You Earmark What I Earmark?

$ Hemingway's Cats, Pampered By Uncle Sam | $ The Senate's King Of Pork - And Fish | $ Inside Washington: Pricey bus test a bust

$ Universities get free pass on new House ethics rules | Federal Election Commission

$ The Engine No One Wants — Except Congress The Government Is Spending $100 Million In Tax Dollars On A Jet Engine Deemed Unnecessary by the military. In 2007, Senators added 309 earmarks to one bill costing the taxpayer over $5 billion.

$ Washington lobbyists seek budget favors – earmarks The Christian Science Monitor

$ Government Integrity - The Power of facts from the Web | How to track Federal Legislation using THOMAS

According to Kathryn A. Wolfe in Congressional Quarterly July 31, 2007

"Sen. Ted Stevens, who as a top appropriator has mastered the art of the congressional earmark, tucked $3.5 million into a Senate spending bill this year to help finance an airport to serve a remote Alaskan island.

The airstrip would connect the roughly 100 permanent residents of Akutan to the outside world. The biggest beneficiary, though, would be Seattle-based Trident Seafoods Corp., which operates one of the world’s largest seafood processing plants on the volcanic island in the Aleutians.

Trident and Stevens are no strangers. For years, company founder and Chief Executive Charles Bundrant has been a generous contributor to the Alaska Republican’s campaigns. And in December, according to the Seattle Times, a federal grand jury investigating political corruption in Alaska ordered Trident and other seafood companies to produce documents detailing financial ties to the senator’s son, former Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board Chairman Ben Stevens."


question mark Examine the issue of earmarks.

$ - How has your state or region benefited by earmarks? Taxpayers for Common Sense provide earmark info.

$ - Some people charge that, with no oversight, much of this spending is wasted and never realizes what it was proposed it would do.
Take a critical look at one earmark your state or region has received. Has the goal it was to meet been achieved?

$ - Is the goal a local priority? Is it a national priority?

$ - If the only way to achieve the goal or funding would have been to raise the local taxes, would you have supported the increase?

$ - Changes have been proposed in the earmark process. What are they?

$ - Do you believe these changes will adequately address the issue?

$ - Does this kind of legislator ordered spending happen in your state government?


Write a letter regarding earmarks to one of the individuals that represents you in the U.S. Congress.
Tell them how you feel about this issue and what you believe should be done about it.
Endeavor to cite specific examples that relate to your community.
Point to their previous voting record on this issue.

Your challenges include: finding their office address, using the correct salutation including title, as well as, following appropriate business letter writing format. Most legislators have their own web site. Use your online research skills to find it.

*Many elected officials have an email form/link in their web site. It is reasonable to use this, in lieu of paper and postage, but format and style expectations remain the same. Write the letter in word processing. Edit it as needed. Then copy .. paste it into the email form. Some have a maximum character limit to emails. If that is the case, write the formal letter. Then drop the address heading and date from the email.


Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper advocating for your beliefs regarding earmarks. I did.


Make an earmark related video or multimedia presentation project.

The Yes Men - Examine this approach to dealing with the problem/issue. Examples: WTO/GATT | Dow- Union Carbide | Ice Age Petition - How to's for iMovie software | Stop Motion Video info from the Pogues


Research the earmarks that have been given to your community or state.

1. Watch this Google Earth tutorial at TeacherTube.

2. Locate the recipients' location on a Google Map.

3. Enter the amount and the legislator who earmarked them.

How will they impact the future growth/or decline of your region?


Extra Projects:

Structurally deficient Bridges or Earmarks

Economics in Reagan years and Now

$ Resources:

Earmarks, Pork and Federal Budgets Citizens Against Government Waste
Earmark Toolkit Exposing Earmarks

THOMAS - legislative information from the Library of Congress

Up to Their Earmarks - Washington Post
Porkbusters Earmark Reform Project on Government Oversight
Congresspedia is the official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.
How to track Federal Legislation using THOMAS
Budget of the United States Government Federal
Budget Making tracks the bills in Congress
W. Va. lawmaker withdraws funding request Government Performance Project
Security Grants Evaluate your Senator or Representative Project

"Kleptocracy is an obstacle to democratic progress, undermines faith in government institutions, and steals prosperity from the people.
Promoting transparent, accountable governance is a critical component of our freedom agenda." George W. Bush August 2006

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developed by Cynthia J. O'Hora, In the spirit of Thomas Paine Released to public domain and Posted 1/2007 utd 4/2008