The non-partisan taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has released the 2008 edition of their “Congressional Pig Book,” which is a compendium of recent pork-barrel spending by our beloved U.S. Congress.
To qualify as pork-barrel spending, a project must meet at least one of the following criteria, though most instances in their report satisfy at least two:
1. Requested by only one chamber of Congress
2. Not specifically authorized
3. Not competitively awarded
4. Not requested by the President
5. Greatly exceeds the Presidentâ€™s budget request or the previous yearâ€™s funding
6. Not the subject of congressional hearings
7. Serves only a local or special interest
According to the CAGW report, the year’s biggest offenders are all members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, beginning with Thad Cochran (R-MS) with $892 million; Ted Stevens (R-AK) with $469 million; and Richard Shelby (R-AL) with $465 million.
As for our current Presidential hopefuls, Hillary Clinton is on top with $292.2 million in pork spending spanning 281 individual projects. Barack Obama is second with 53 special projects for a total of $97.4 million. And bringing up the rear (which, in this case, isn’t a bad thing) is John McCain with $0 in pork spending.