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

CAGW Names Sen. Shelby Porker of the Month

Press Release

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2007

      Contacts: Leslie K. Paige 202-467-5334
                    Alexa Moutevelis 202-467-5318




Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) Porker of the Month for October 2007 for an $11 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) earmark for his alma mater.

Sen. Shelby’s project was the largest of 401 earmarks worth $191.2 million in the HRSA section of the Senate’s 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Act.  Sen. Shelby’s $11 million is listed in the bill as going to the “University of Alabama [UA], Tuscaloosa, AL for construction, renovation, and equipment” but a press release on Sen. Shelby’s website specified that a “70,000 square foot interdisciplinary health services building” would be constructed. 

UA’s new health building will be funded by virtue of the senator’s position on the LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee as well as his status as an alumnus.  Almost half of the HRSA earmarks went to 15 LHHS subcommittee members and 60 percent went to the 29 members of the full committee.  The Washington Times reported on October 15 that $42 million – 20 percent – was earmarked for the alma maters of members of Congress. The average project for those schools was three times higher than the amount provided for other earmarks.  The neediest healthcare centers in the country cannot be in the states of appropriators and the most deserving schools those of lawmakers. 

When lawmakers interfere and hand out their own funding, HRSA’s main goals suffer.  A 2005 assessment of HRSA earmarks found that they “are not subject to a competitive or merit-based process to ensure higher priorities are funded first” and “divert people and associated financial resources from HRSA's core mission activities.”

This is not the first building Sen. Shelby funded via an earmark for the school he attended for undergraduate and law.  In 2004, Shelby Hall opened at UA, one of the largest buildings on campus.  The building was named after him, not because of a personal donation, but because Sen. Shelby was able to steer $35.5 million worth of federal funds to the facility.  That is a generous endowment from the taxpayers of America for which Sen. Shelby gets credit.

Since October 1, the senator has issued 16 press releases, of which 11 related to earmarks.  Ironically, his first press release of the month was to announce the introduction of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. 

For being the poster child for HRSA earmark abuse with the largest project directed to his alma mater, CAGW names Sen. Richard Shelby its October 2007 Porker of the Month.

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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