Press Release

EMBARGOED for ReleaseContact: Jim Campi
March 3, 1999 at 2:00 p.m.(202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – During a news conference held today in the nation’s capital, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) once again ripped the lid off congressional pork-barrel spending with the unveiling of its 1999 Congressional Pig Book Summary.  The 366 pork-barrel items listed in the Pig Book were gleaned from a much larger list of more than 2,838 projects.  According to CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz, Congress indulged in a total of $12 billion in procedural pork-barrel spending during the fiscal 1999 appropriations process.  Schatz was joined at the news conference by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Reps. David Minge (D-Minn.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.).

“No matter how you slice it, pork is always on the menu in the halls of Congress,” Schatz stated.  “In fiscal 1999, Congress managed to surreptitiously squeeze 695 additional pork-barrel projects in than they did last year, an increase of 32 percent.  Some members of Congress simply couldn’t resist the lure of easy money and put partisan political interests over the best interests of taxpayers.”

Although the number of pork projects increased in 1999, the total cost of these projects actually decreased by about nine percent, down from $13.2 billion in fiscal 1998.  A state-by-state breakdown shows that the biggest winners in this year’s pork-barrel derby were Alaska with $273.76 per capita in pork, followed by Hawaii ($155.56), Montana ($97.00), the District of Columbia ($85.64), and New Mexico ($72.77).

Congress was not solely to blame for the outrageous amount of pork in this year’s spending bills.  The President chose to keep the bacon frying.  “President Clinton was a partner in the disastrous FY 1999 appropriations process,” Schatz remarked.  “The White House met with congressional leaders behind closed doors in what can only be thought of as a contest to see who could stuff the most pork into the Omnibus Appropriations Act.  Unfortunately, they were using the taxpayers’ money for their back-door dealmaking.”

As in the past, CAGW also released its annual “Oinkers” Awards – a list of dubious achievers and dishonorable mentions.  Among the awards presented were the Hall of Shame Award, given to former Rep. Joseph McDade (R-Pa.) for nine years of pork-barrel spending; the Luau Award, conferred upon Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) for a $185 million helping of Hawaiian pork; and the Petrified Pork Award, in recognition of the $5.1 million (for a total of $50 million since 1995) in wood utilization research.

Schatz was also quick to commend members of Congress who had worked with CAGW to rid the government of wasteful spending.  “The members standing with me today represent the best face of Congress.  These elected officials have worked diligently and passionately to eliminate all forms of wasteful government spending, including pork,” said Schatz.  “With their proven track record of exposing and eliminating earmarks and add-ons, they will play a crucial role in identifying pork-barrel targets as they make their way through the appropriations process.”

CAGW is a 600,000-member, nonprofit taxpayer watchdog group dedicated to educating Americans about government waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.


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