CAGW Names Sen. Robert Byrd Porker of the Month | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Names Sen. Robert Byrd Porker of the Month

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Tom Finnigan
June 12, 2006(202) 467-5309


Washington, D.C. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) Porker of the Month for his legacy as the “King of Pork.”  Mr. Byrd today becomes the longest-serving Senator in U.S. history. 

Sen. Byrd has sat on the Appropriations Committee since 1959, his first year in the Senate.  He is former chairman and currently Ranking Member.  CAGW began tracking federal pork with its Pig Book in 1991.  Since 1991, West Virginia has received $2.95 billion in pork.  Projects added in the Senate (those most likely attributed to Sen. Byrd) total $1.2 billion.  The state has ranked in the top 4 in pork per capita every year since 2001.  CAGW dubbed him the “King of Pork” in 1999 when West Virginia became the first state to garner $1 billion in pork in the collective Pig Book database. 

CAGW’s “Byrd Droppings” has chronicled 33 projects in West Virginia named after Sen.  Byrd, including the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the Robert C. Byrd Highway, and the Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center.  Federal law prohibits the naming of federal structures after sitting members of Congress.  Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) calls the practice a violation of campaign finance laws because it is “the equivalent of a government payment for a campaign billboard.” 

Other West Virginia highlights from the Pig Book include:  $16.8 million for the Institute for Software Research (2002);   $3.6 million for the Appalachian Fruit Laboratory in Kearneysville (2005); $3.5 million for the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg (2002); $2.7 million for the Wood Education and Resource Center (2004); $1.7 million to equip West Liberty State College residence halls with Internet access (2003); $250,000 for the National Center for Cool and Coldwater Aquaculture (2000); $160,000 for poultry litter composting (2004); and $95,000 for the West Virginia State Museum for its Civil War regimental flag collection (2002). 

Sen. Byrd often cites West Virginia’s poor economy to justify his pork.  The state now has the third-lowest personal income per capita in the country.  Evidently, decades of raiding the federal treasury has helped Sen. Byrd get re-elected but has failed to improve the lot of West Virginians.    

Sen. Byrd carries a copy of the Constitution with him at all times.  Yet the 10th Amendment restricts the federal government to its enumerated powers.  Sen. Byrd embodies the abuse warned against by the Founding Fathers.  Thomas Jefferson told James Madison that his plan to improve roads for national mail delivery “will be a scene of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest.” 

Sen. Byrd makes no apologies for his pork, once saying “West Virginia has always had four friends:  God Almighty; Sears Roebuck; Carter’s Liver Pills; and Robert C. Byrd.”  He has played a major role in an explosion of earmarking that is now at the center of multiple corruption scandals.  For his legacy of narcissism and waste, for violating the spirit and letter of the Constitution, and for resisting budget reforms, CAGW names the “King of Pork” Sen. Robert Byrd Porker of the Month for June 2006.   

Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.


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