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An organization called “Citizens Against Government (CAGW) waste has been reviewing federal budgets for the last seventeen years and reporting on pork projects. Each year, they produce the annual “Congressional Pig Book.” It will make your head spin. Keep in mind, the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats when it comes to spending our money on pork.

“The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW's annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. The 2009 Pig Book identified 10,160 projects at a cost of $19.6 billion in the 12 Appropriations Acts for fiscal 2009. A "pork" project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition”

The seven criteria include:

• 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

The outrage of millions of taxpayers following the $700 billion bank bailout and the $787 billion stimulus bill did not stop Congress from passing and President Obama from signing a bloated $410 billion Omnibus Appropriations Act in March. With the subsequent approval of the President’s budget, the national debt will triple over the next 10 years. That leaves plenty of opportunities for pork to remain pervasive in the nation’s capital. The 2009 Congressional Pig Book Summary gives a snapshot of each appropriations bill and details the juiciest projects culled from the complete Pig Book. And can be reviewed in a pdf format at http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_pigbook2009

Two reports of the more egregious projects include:

1) $1,791,000 asked for by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for swine odor and manure management research in Ames. According to the Agriculture Research Service’s website, the purpose of the research is to “generate and integrate knowledge for evaluation and development of new management practices that minimize nutrient excretion, malodorous emissions, and the release of pathogens into the environment as well as have a positive impact on animal health.”

2) $102,800,000 for 27 projects by House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.), including $24,500,000 for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). Last year, Rep. Murtha earmarked $23,000,000 for the NDIC, which is administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ). However, the DOJ has asked Congress to shut the NDIC down because its operations are duplicative. In addition, prior to the center’s opening in August of 1993, the GAO stated it was a waste of money and redundant of efforts to combat drugs in Washington as well as a center on the Mexican border. In November 2008, FBI agents raided the offices of the PMA Group, a lobbying firm with close ties to Rep. Murtha. Founded by Paul Magliochetti, a former appropriations staffer for Rep. Murtha, PMA specializes in directing defense earmarks to its clients, many of which have been requested by the Pennsylvania Democrat. PMA is the second lobbying firm with close ties to Rep. Murtha to be raided in recent months; in January 2009, agents from the FBI, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and Internal Revenue Service raided the offices of Kuchera Industries and Kuchera Defense Systems. According to a January 23, 2009 Politico article, Kuchera and its employees have donated more than $65,000 to Rep. Murtha’s election campaign and political action committee.