Friday, April 19, 2019

Congressional Earmarks are Back

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is a private, non-partisan (perhps) non-profit organization with about a million members. Its purpose is to eliminate waste, mismanagement and inefficiency in the Government. It was co-founded back in 1984 by J. Peter Grace (the Grace Commission) and Jack Anderson. Some of your (older readers) may recall Jack Anderson, a syndicated columnist and considered by many to be one of the fathers of modern investigative journalism. Jack exposed such things as the Nixon administration's harassment of John Lennon, fugitive Nazi's living in South America, plots to kill Castro, and the Iran-Contra affair under the Reagan administration.

CAGW produces numerous publications highlighting wasteful government spending including "Government Wastewatch". Its most noteworthy (and highly anticipated) publication is the annual Congressional Pig Book which exposes the most glaring and irresponsible port-barrel projects in the 13 annual appropriations bill.

The 2018 Congressional Pig Book (download here) exposes 232 earmarks in fiscal year 2018 costing $14.7 billion (the record year was $29 billion in fiscal year 2006). To make it in the Congressional Pig Book, the appropriation must meet one or more of the following criteria.

  • 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
  • Not the subject of congressional hearings, or
  • Serves only a local or special interest.

Read the report to see whether any of your Government contracts is the result of "blatant examples of pork".

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