2024 Congressional Pig Book | Citizens Against Government Waste

2024 Congressional Pig Book

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2024

Summary

The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW's annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. 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.

Introduction

Praise for CAGW and the Pig Book

“I believe that this book should be read by every citizen in America. … What is being done here by CAGW, in my view, is of the greatest importance.  [M]y constituents … need to have these concrete examples of the way that business is done here in Washington, D.C., unfortunately, and the only way it’s going to stop is when it’s exposed.”

The late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), April 9, 2002

“I want to thank again everyone at Citizens Against Government Waste for their efforts on the Pig Book and their efforts to combat waste.” 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), April 27, 2023

“Thank you to the Citizens Against Government Waste for your work to reduce waste and hold our government accountable for the way we spend taxpayer money.”

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), April 27, 2023

“Thank you to CAGW and their continued focus on this.  This has real value for our American position in the world and for our own economy and our own families.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), April 27, 2023

“Citizens Against Government Waste is one of the critical fiscal watchdogs in Washington to point the way back to fiscal sanity.”

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), April 27, 2023

“CAGW has done a wonderful job improving transparency and revealing how Congress is failing to spend Americans’ dollars responsibly.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), July 20, 2022

“Citizens Against Government Waste may not be the most popular group in Washington for obvious reasons, but taxpayers across the country have no better friend or ally protecting their pocketbooks from the big spenders here in Congress.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), July 15, 2020

“Tom Schatz deserves as much credit as anyone in America for putting a spotlight on government waste.”

Then-Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), May 13, 2015

“Citizens Against Government Waste does a great job of highlighting the waste and the culture of corruption that is rampant in Washington.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), May 7, 2014

“Those peckerwoods don’t know what they’re doing.  They don’t.  They’re not being realistic.”

The late “King of Pork” Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), July 19, 2001

“All they are is a bunch of psychopaths.”

The late CAGW “Oinker” Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), December 26, 1999

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing more than one million members and supporters nationwide.  CAGW’s mission is to eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency at all levels of government.

INTRODUCTION

The 32nd edition of Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) Congressional Pig Book tracks the earmarks received by members of Congress in the third year since they restored the practice. 

The 2024 Congressional Pig Book exposes 8,222 earmarks, 11.2 percent more than the 7,396 in fiscal year (FY) 2023, costing $22.7 billion, 13 percent less than the $26.1 billion in FY 2023.  While the lower cost is moving earmark spending in the right direction, the $22.7 billion in FY 2024 is the fifth highest total since CAGW released the first Pig Book in 1991, behind the $29 billion in FY 2006, $27.3 billion in FY 2005, $26.1 billion in FY 2023, and $22.9 billion in FY 2004.  Since FY 1991, CAGW has identified 132,434 earmarks costing $460.3 billion.

After an 11-year moratorium, earmarks were revived for FY 2022, first in a favorable vote by House Democrats on February 26, 2021, then by House Republicans, who agreed to restore them on March 17, 2021, and then by Senate Democrats, who followed suit on April 26, 2021.  Senate Republicans voted to uphold the moratorium on April 21, 2021, but the agreement was nonbinding, and many of them received earmarks.  These arrangements were maintained for earmarks in FYs 2023 and 2024.

The revived earmarks, despite a futile attempt to cover them up by designating them as “Community Project Funding,” are similar to the old earmarks that were included in the appropriations bills passed by Congress during FYs 2008-2010, which required that the names of the members who received earmarks be listed in each bill.  The rules are as follows:  each member of the House of Representatives is allowed to request up to 15 projects (senators face no such limitation); requests are posted online; a list of projects funded is published when the subcommittee or committee marks up a bill; for-profit entities are not eligible; and members certify that they, their spouse, and their family have no financial interest in the project.

INTRODUCTION (continued)

In order to receive funding, there must be “evidence of community support that were compelling factors” in deciding which projects to request.  This limitation is prima facie absurd, since it includes every expenditure from building a weapons system to programs and projects funded by hundreds of agencies and programs that include community, development, economic, or similar words in their title.  It also describes the normal system of requesting money from competitive grant programs.  The projects that would be requested as earmarks were by their very nature not funded because the agencies rejected them based on statutory criteria established by Congress.  As a result, the end product looked awfully similar to the old system used by members of Congress prior to the establishment of the earmark moratorium. 

In an effort to reduce the number and cost of earmarks in the House of Representatives, Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) changed the rules for FY 2024 to limit the cost of earmarks to 0.5 percent instead of 1 percent of total discretionary spending, eliminated earmarks for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Financial Services, and Defense Appropriations bills, and required a statement demonstrating a federal nexus for earmark requests.  However, the Senate maintained the 1 percent threshold and the House added rural water projects for smaller communities if they pay 25 percent of the cost, and port and rail projects were eligible in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill.

But on the other side of the ledger, the increase in the number of earmarks can be explained in part by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ (D-N.Y.) use of the “legalized bribery” aspect of the process.  In exchange for votes to prevent a government shutdown, Leader Jeffries pushed Republican leaders to agree to increase the amount of money for earmarks allotted to Democrats in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.  Nearly all Democrats received an earmark in that bill, and according to a CNN analysis, most of them were

INTRODUCTION (continued)

inflated by $616,279 above the amount provided in the committee-passed version of the legislation. 

While CAGW exposed earmarks in the appropriations bills every year since the moratorium, the agreement succeeded in reducing the cost and number of the projects.  Members of Congress passed the 12 appropriations bills in nine years during the moratorium, adding on average 192 earmarks costing $9.4 billion.  In the nine years prior to the earmark moratorium, legislators on average added 9,542 earmarks costing $20.9 billion.  Members of Congress have added on average 6,919 earmarks costing $22.6 billion in the three years since repealing the moratorium.

Earmarks continue to provide the most benefit to the most powerful legislators.  In FY 2024, the 90 members of the House and Senate appropriations committees, making up only 17 percent of Congress, were responsible for 42.2 percent of the earmarks and 35.2 percent of the money.  Three of the top five recipients by dollar amount serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and a fourth is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). 

Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) claimed the most earmarks in FY 2024.  Her 231 earmarks cost $575,580,000, which is $109,429,721, or 23.5 percent more than the legislator in second place, Senate Appropriations Committee member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who received 185 earmarks costing $466,370,279.

Three more senators rounded out the top five:  Senator Angus King (I-Maine), who received 186 earmarks costing $453,591,043; Senate Appropriations Committee member Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who received 114 earmarks costing $ 428,634,250; and Senate Majority Leader Schumer, who received 227 earmarks costing $421,738,113.  These five legislators, constituting just 0.93 percent of the 535 members of Congress, together received

INTRODUCTION (continued)

$2,345,913,685, or 10.3 percent of the total cost of the FY 2024 earmarks, the same percentage the top five claimed in FY 2023.

The new system of earmarking benefited senators far more than representatives, with only three of the top 40 recipients by dollar amount coming from the House.  They are House Appropriations Committee member Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) who received 13 earmarks costing $273,330,940 (including the single largest earmark of any member of Congress), ranking 16th; Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), who received 14 earmarks costing $161,040,860, ranking 36th; and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), who received 13 earmarks costing $146,400,568, ranking 40th.

Democrats took advantage of the earmarking opportunity far more than Republicans.  Of the 261 Democrats, 260, or 99.6 percent took part, receiving 8,571 earmarks totaling $12,421,518,897.  This contrasts to 166 of 266 Republicans, or 62.4 percent, who received 2,931 earmarks costing $8,974,057,669.  Because multiple legislators often requested the same earmark, the combined individual totals exceed the total number and dollar value of earmarks attributed to members of Congress in the bills.

Like the earmarks prior to the moratorium, states and territories with smaller populations got a disproportionate amount, especially if they had members on powerful committees.  Alaska ($645.20 per resident) again received the most pork per capita (dollars in earmarks relative to population), followed by Maine ($434.24 per resident), Hawaii ($336.35 per resident), the Northern Mariana Islands ($254.36 per resident), and West Virginia ($211.95 per resident).  In FY 2023, the top five were Alaska, the Northern Mariana Islands, Vermont, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands.

While the inclusion of the names of members of Congress is helpful, more than one-third of the cost of the earmarks was added

without any attribution.  There were 124 such earmarks costing $8.2 billion, or 36.1 percent of the $22.7 billion total.  Despite the

INTRODUCTION (continued)

House prohibition on earmarks in the Defense Appropriations Act, CAGW found 107 projects, or 86 percent of the 124 earmarks, costing $7.6 billion, or 93 percent of the $8.2 billion, for the Department of Defense (DOD).

Members of Congress will argue that their standards differ from the earmark criteria used in the Pig Book, and that these projects do not count as earmarks according to their definition.  However, the difference in the definition of earmarks between CAGW and Congress has existed since the first Pig Book in 1991.

Beyond the high percentage of anonymous earmarks, larger problems with transparency exist.  The FY 2024 earmarks were again in omnibus bills containing thousands of pages, which were voted on with minimal time for review.

Moreover, the earmarks were in disparate sections of the 12 appropriations bills with varying degrees of legibility.  To undertake this analysis, CAGW staff painstakingly created a searchable database, oftentimes entering by hand information that failed to accurately scan because of blurry, barely discernable text.  The data released to the public makes a mockery of the searchable database delineated by the earmark guidelines.  And rather than being in a single database, the earmark requests reside only on an individual member’s website.

The members of Congress who restored earmarks willfully ignored or forgot why this corrupt, inequitable, and costly practice was first subject to the moratorium.  The movement gained traction due to the tireless work of members of Congress like then-Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); high-profile boondoggles like the Bridge to Nowhere; and a decade of scandals that resulted in jail terms for Reps. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) and Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

INTRODUCTION (continued)

Legislators often cite Congress’s Article I tax and spending power as justification for earmarking.  As Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and then-Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), co-leaders of the Article I Project, wrote in 2017 in regard to earmarks, “Congress needs to assert its power of the purse, but not in this manner.”  In the past, “earmarking was not the innocuous exercise of Congress’ constitutional spending power; it was the tool lobbyists and leadership used to compel members to vote for bills that their constituents – and sometimes their conscience – opposed.”  Bringing back earmarks, they wrote, “would make our job harder, make Congress weaker and make federal power more centralized, less accountable and more corrupt.”

Those sentiments echo President James Monroe’s May 4, 1822 Special Message to Congress regarding its authority to spend money on internal improvements across the country:  “It is, however, my opinion that the power should be confined to great national works only, since if it were unlimited it would be liable to abuse and might be productive of evil.”

The impact of earmarks was shown in a September 7, 2007, Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT OIG) report, which found 7,724, or 99 percent of the 7,760 projects for FY 2006 reviewed by the OIG worth $8 billion at three DOT agencies either failed to be “subject to the agencies’ normal review and planning process or bypassed the states’ normal planning and programming processes.”  At the Federal Aviation Administration, nine of the 10 earmarked air traffic control tower replacement projects were low priority, and their funding caused a three-year delay in planning for higher priority projects.  There were 16 projects out of 65 at the Federal Highway Administration that failed to meet the statutory requirements of the Interstate Maintenance Discretionary Program. 

Reviewing the thousands of earmark requests for FY 2025 by appropriations committee staff will not only bypass the local

review and approval process but also usurp the authority Congress provided to federal agencies and their employees, who are charged with deciding how to spend the 99 percent of discretionary spending that is not earmarked.

The 32nd installment of CAGW’s exposé of pork-barrel spending includes:  $282,353,000 for two earmarks for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF); $36,000,000 for two earmarks to combat underwater pests, including $20,500,000 for the aquatic plant control program and $15,500,000 for aquatic nuisance control research; $17,500,000 for the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas); $4,000,000 for the Alaska King Crab Enhancement Project by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); $1,750,000 the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); and $190,000 for a shark repellant study at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.).

The projects in the 2024 Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most blatant examples of pork.  As in previous years, all items in the Congressional Pig Book meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:

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.

I.  AGRICULTURE

Members of Congress have long used the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to feed at the trough, and their appetite grew prodigiously in FY 2024.  The number of earmarks increased by 81.3 percent, from 331 in FY 2023 to 600 in FY 2024, and the cost went up by 61.6 percent, from $466.2 million in FY 2023 to $753.4 million in FY 2024.  The increase in the number and cost of earmarks were both the largest of the FY 2024 bills.

$11,385,000 for 10 earmarks funding broadband expansion by 14 legislators, including $4,224,000 for the Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative in California by Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.) and $1,000,000 for Tillamook County, Oregon, by Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee member Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.).  The $11,385,000 earmarked in FY 2024 is a 19.4 percent increase from the $9,537,427 that legislators added in FY 2023.

There is absolutely no reason to earmark a penny of broadband funding.  There is so much money and so many programs across the federal government for broadband deployment that anyone who wants funding can get it.  In his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on March 31, 2022, Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr stated that, “$800 billion has been appropriated by Congress or budgeted by agencies for infrastructure programs over the past two years that could be used on efforts to bridge the digital divide.”  He also estimated that one-tenth of that amount, or $80 billion, would be sufficient to connect all unserved areas of the country.

More than half of the $800 billion came from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which gave $350 billion to state and local governments for infrastructure, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which contained $65 billion solely for

AGRICULTURE (continued)

broadband deployment and affordability programs, including $42.45 billion alone for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program.  The regulations for the use of the ARPA and IIJA funds differ, and making matters worse, a May 31, 2022, Government Accountability Office (GAO) report identified at least 133 broadband programs spread across 15 federal agencies.  The report understandably called for improved alignment “to help address fragmentation and overlap.” 

The 14 congressional broadband bandits are exacerbating this disarray and contributing to wasteful spending.

$10,000,000 for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) New England Plant, Soil, and Water Laboratory in Orono, Maine by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine).

$7,000,000 for a veterinary diagnostic center at the University of Clemson’s Livestock Poultry Health program by Senate Appropriations Committee member Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

$5,000,000 for the USDA ARS Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, Louisiana by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.).

$1,248,000 for the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service Water-Smart Rice in the Lower Colorado River Basin of Texas project by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

II. COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE

The FY 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act contained 1,046 earmarks, a 69.5 percent increase from the 617 earmarks in FY 2023.  The cost of the earmarks climbed by 16.5 percent, from $944.4 million in FY 2023 to $1.1 billion in FY 2024.  The increased number and cost of earmarks in the FY 2024 CJS bill were the second highest of any bill.

$350,008,000 for 474 earmarks funding the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program, a 76.9 percent increase from the 268 earmarks in FY 2023, and a 52.5 percent increase in cost from the $229,551,000 contained in the FY 2023 CJS bill.  The FY 2024 JAG projects represent 31.8 percent of the $1.1 billion in earmarks included in the FY 2024 CJS bill.  The $350,008,000 is the most ever earmarked for the JAG program, and represents 37.9 percent of its top-line FY 2024 appropriation.

The JAG program has been around since 1988 in one form or another.  In 2005, Congress merged several DOJ grant programs under the JAG umbrella.  Unfortunately, the program gives away money with too much flexibility and no effective targeting strategy, along with weak oversight and few consequences for mismanagement of the funds. 

An October 15, 2010, GAO report found that JAGs “lack key attributes of successful performance assessment systems that GAO has previously identified, such as clarity, reliability, a linkage to strategic or programmatic goals, and objectivity and measurability of targets.”

The George W. Bush administration’s ExpectMore.gov described the Byrne grants as “a variety of potential local law enforcement activities rather than a clearly defined, specific or existing problem, interest, or need. … With program funds eligible to be used for multiple purposes, the Department of Justice cannot target the funds to high priority uses.  There are no meaningful goals for

COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE (continued)

the program.  Performance measures are still under development.   Grantees are not required to report on performance.  As a result, it is difficult to determine what the program is accomplishing.”

Since FY 2001, members of Congress have added 2,962 earmarks for the JAG program costing $1.8 billion.

$247,347,161 for 311 earmarks for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, a 58.7 percent increase from the 196 earmarks in FY 2023, and a 39.1 percent increase from the $177,880,000 million earmarked in FY 2023.  The COPS earmarks equal 22.5 percent of the FY 2024 CJS bill, making COPS and JAG combined account for 54.3 percent of the total cost.

The COPS program provides grants, training, and technical assistance to local law enforcement.  It was targeted for a $96 million reduction in then-President Trump’s FY 2019 Major Savings and Reforms, which stated that the program is “not well targeted to achieve public safety outcomes.”  The Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) budgets from FYs 2018 through 2020 called for the elimination of funding for COPS, and CAGW’s Prime Cuts has also called for terminating the program.

In FY 2008, COPS received 680 earmarks requested by hundreds of members of Congress costing $245.2 million.  In that same year, the Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool gave the COPS program a “results not demonstrated” rating, which “indicates that a program has not been able to develop acceptable performance goals or collect data to determine whether it is performing,” noting that the COPS program’s “long-term goals have no timelines or specific targets.”

This subpar characterization of the program corresponded with a significant decline in earmarks with legislators abstaining from adding projects between FYs 2010 and 2017.  However, earmarks

COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND SCIENCE (continued)

for COPS have returned without any evidence that the problems identified in 2008 have been addressed.  Since FY 1998, legislators have added 3,506 earmarks for COPS, costing taxpayers $3.5 billion.

$139,499,000 for 97 earmarks funding operations, research, and facilities at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a 32.9 percent increase from the 73 earmarks in FY 2023, and a 25.2 percent increase from the $111,465,000 earmarked in the FY 2023 CJS bill. 

The earmarks include:  $6,000,000 for the University of California, La Jolla for a bioremediation assessment of the impact of offshore pollution by the late-Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.); $4,000,000 for the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation for the Alaska King Crab Enhancement Project by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); and $2,521,000 for the Oregon Kelp Alliance for the Oregon Kelp Forest Protection and Restoration Initiative by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Ore.).

Since FY 2001, members of Congress have added 383 earmarks for NOAA, costing $2.2 billion.

$22,141,000 for 15 earmarks supporting fishing industries, including:  $4,000,000 for juvenile pacific salmon research at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and $1,265,000 for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Innovation Center at the University of Delaware by Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee member Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).

COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND SCIENCE (continued)

According to NOAA, the U.S. fishing industry produced $321 billion in commercial and recreational sales in 2022.  It can go fish and get by without the support of earmarks.

$190,000 for a shark repellant study at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.).  The laboratory had an operating budget of $35,739,237 in 2023 and could easily pay for the study itself.

Taxpayers are going to need a bigger boat.

III. DEFENSE

Though reduced from FY 2023, the DOD Appropriations Act again included the most funding via earmarks, which has occurred each year since FY 1994.  The number of earmarks decreased by 28.7 percent from 150 in FY 2023 to 107 in FY 2024, and their cost declined by 25.5 percent from $10.2 billion in FY 2023 to $7.6 billion in FY 2024.  The cost constitutes 33.5 percent of the $22.7 billion in earmarks in all 12 appropriations bills for FY 2024.

Legislators did not add their names to any earmarks in the FY 2024 DOD Appropriations Act, but they again added the most anonymous earmarks of any bill.  The 107 anonymous earmarks in the legislation equal 86.3 percent of the 124 anonymous earmarks spread across all of the FY 2024 appropriations bills.

$1,945,275,000 for 54 anonymous earmarks for health and disease research under the Defense Health Program (DHP), which is an 8.3 percent decrease in cost from the 56 earmarks worth $2,121,460,000 in FY 2023, and the third highest ever earmarked for the program.  The amount earmarked in FY 2024 for the DHP represents 25.6 percent of the total of $7.6 billion in DOD earmarks.

A March 14, 2012, Washington Post article stated that then-DOD Comptroller Robert Hale proposed decreasing the Pentagon health budget in part by eliminating “one-time congressional adds,” which he said totaled $603.6 million in FY 2012 for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

The late Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) November 2012 “The Department of Everything” report pointed out that the DOD disease earmarks mean that “fewer resources are available for DOD to address those specific health challenges facing members of the armed forces for which no other agencies are focused.”  According to the report, in 2010 the Pentagon withheld more than $45 million for overhead related to earmarks, which means those

DEFENSE (continued)

funds were unavailable for national security needs or medical research specifically affecting those serving in the military.

On June 17, 2015, then-Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested that funding for medical research should only be included in the DOD bill if the secretary of defense determined it was directly related to the military.  He said that “over the past two decades, lawmakers have appropriated nearly $7.3 billion for medical research that was ‘totally unrelated’ to the military.”  In a response that explains why legislators continue to believe that they have the knowledge, privilege, and right to earmark billions of dollars for the DHP, Senate appropriator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) claimed that none of the secretaries of defense that he had known, despite being “talented individuals,” were qualified to decide whether any of this research is related to the military.

Since FY 1996, members of Congress have added 966 earmarks for the DHP, costing taxpayers $22.8 billion.

$518,300,000 for two earmarks funding the M1 Abrams upgrade program, a 25.9 percent reduction from the $699,200,000 in earmarks in FY 2023.

Over the objections of senior DOD officials, members of Congress have for many years provided funding for the M1 upgrade program.  Although the tank plant is in Lima, Ohio, its suppliers are spread across the country, which helps to explain the widespread support.  Past versions of the DOD bills, including in FYs 2016 and 2017, hinted at a parochial incentive for the program’s continuance:  industrial base support.  There’s nothing like a jobs program disguised as a national security priority. 

The continued funding for the program makes it worth revisiting why the Pentagon has long objected to finite resources being wasted on an unwanted project. 

DEFENSE (continued)

On February 17, 2012, then-Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno told the House Armed Services Committee that the U.S. possesses more than enough tanks to meet the country’s needs and “our tank fleet is in good shape.” 

On September 6, 2023, the DOD announced that it intends to move on from the M1A2SEP, based in part on lessons learned in the fighting in Ukraine.  The funding would be redistributed to develop the M1E3.  The new tank will integrate technologies designed to increase survivability and maneuverability and likely be fielded beginning in the 2040s.

Since FY 1994, there have been 47 earmarks for the M1 Abrams, requested by at least 13 members of Congress, costing taxpayers $3 billion.  Continuing to commit vast resources to an unnecessary program will inevitably make upgrading the Abrams in the manner the Pentagon prefers much more difficult.

$282,353,000 for two earmarks for the F-35 JSF, with the bulk of the funding going toward the acquisition of three aircraft for the Air Force beyond the amount requested by the DOD.

A small ocean of ink has been spilled cataloging the many troubles of the JSF.  It has been under continuous development since the contract was awarded in 2001 and has faced innumerable delays and cost overruns.  Total acquisition costs now exceed $428 billion, nearly double the initial estimate of $233 billion.  According to an April 15, 2024, GAO report, total lifetime costs of the program will now exceed $2 trillion, or 17.7 percent more than the previous $1.7 trillion estimate in September 2023.

On April 26, 2016, then-Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the JSF program “both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule, and performance.”  In February 2014, then-Under Secretary of Defense

DEFENSE (continued)

for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall referred to the purchase of the F-35 as “acquisition malpractice,” a description that has yet to be improved upon.

The JSF has been plagued by a staggering array of persistent issues, many of which were highlighted in the FY 2019 DOD Operational Test and Evaluation Annual Report, which revealed 873 unresolved deficiencies including 13 Category 1 items, involving the most serious flaws that could endanger crew and aircraft.  While this is an overall reduction from the 917 unresolved deficiencies and 15 Category 1 items found in September 2018, the report stated that “although the program is working to fix deficiencies, new discoveries are still being made, resulting in only a minor decrease in the overall number of deficiencies.”

In July 2023, the DOD stopped accepting new deliveries of the JSF from the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, because of delays in the Technology Refresh-3 program, a $1.8 billion effort to provide new capabilities.  A May 2024 GAO report found that the contractor is running out of storage space for JSFs waiting delivery.  The three additional JSFs added via earmarks in FY 2024 will not help.

Many of the problems with the F-35 program can be traced to the decision to develop and procure the aircraft simultaneously.  Whenever problems have been identified, contractors needed to go back and make changes to planes that were already assembled, adding to overall costs.  Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on July 24, 2015, then-Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stated, “The biggest lesson I have learned from the F-35 is never again should we be flying an aircraft while we’re building it.”

The JSF has suffered from a woeful readiness rate for years, and the picture has not improved with time.  An April 15, 2024, Defense One article reported a mission capable rate of 51.9 percent

DEFENSE (continued)

for the F-35A, 59.7 percent for the F-35B, and 61.9 percent for the F-35C.

Of course, the program’s many problems have not stopped the Pentagon from asking for funding, and members of Congress from supplying it, oftentimes exceeding the request from the DOD.  This trend continued in FY 2024.  Upon completion of the development phase, additional funding will be needed to retrofit the JSFs purchased via earmarks, adding to overall program costs. 

The wide distribution of F-35 supply lines across the country is no accident.  According to a map showing the local economic impact of the JSF on Lockheed Martin’s website, the only states that do not have at least one supplier for the aircraft are Hawaii and North Dakota.  This gives all but two representatives and four senators more than enough incentive to keep greasing the wheels.

The deficiencies that have plagued the DOD in recent years have been identified ad nauseum.  The Pentagon’s track record in addressing its financial shortcomings and procurement failures makes it evident that these problems will continue until members of Congress hold the DOD to a much higher standard of effectiveness and efficiency.  Since FY 2001, legislators have added 39 earmarks for the JSF program, costing $12.4 billion.

$221,735,000 for three earmarks for the National Guard Counter-Drug Program, an 84.8 percent increase from the $120 million in FY 2023, and the most ever earmarked for this program.  Between FYs 2008-2010, earmarks went to individual states and congressional districts, but since then the program, which allows for the use of military personnel in domestic drug enforcement operations, has been funded in one bundle as a workaround to the earmark moratorium.  Despite the transparency requirements for earmarks, there is still no information about where these funds are going or how they will be used.

DEFENSE (continued)

The Drug Enforcement Administration, with a budget of $2.6 billion, is already responsible for these activities.  Since FY 2001, there have been 83 earmarks costing taxpayers $1.6 billion for the National Guard Counter-Drug Program.  Members of Congress who have inserted earmarks for this program in the past include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House appropriator Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), the late former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and the late Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). 

$53,000,000 for the Starbase Youth Program, which teaches science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to at-risk youth in multiple locations at or near military bases around the country.  The amount supplied in FY 2024 is a 6 percent increase from the $50 million earmarked in FY 2023, and the largest ever earmark for Starbase.

Since FY 2001, legislators have added 16 earmarks costing $375.1 million for Starbase, including an earmark worth $1.9 million in FY 2010 by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and then-Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).  But, like the National Guard Counter-Drug Program, there is no information about which members of Congress will be receiving the money for the Starbase earmarks.

An April 2018 GAO annual report on program duplication, overlap, and fragmentation found that $2.9 billion was spent in FY 2016 across 13 agencies for 163 STEM programs.  Former President Obama proposed the consolidation or elimination of 31 STEM programs in FY 2015, and a further 20 STEM programs in FY 2016.  Former President Trump’s FY 2021 Major Savings and Reforms recommended eliminating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Office of STEM Engagement, saving $120 million.

IV. ENERGY AND WATER

Legislators once again flooded the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act with pricey pork.  While the number of earmarks declined by 19.1 percent, from 356 in FY 2023 to 288 in FY 2024, the cost went in the other direction, increasing by 10.5 percent, from $1.9 billion in FY 2023 to $2.1 billion in FY 2024.  The increase in the cost of earmarks is the third highest in all of the FY 2024 appropriations bills.

$1,488,596,000 for 217 earmarks for the Army Corps of Engineers, a 24 percent increase from the 175 in FY 2023, and a 48.9 percent increase in cost from the $1 billion in FY 2023.  Former President Trump’s FY 2018 Major Savings and Reforms recommended reducing the Corps of Engineers’ budget by $976 million.  The FY 2021 version of his Major Savings and Reforms proposed reforming Army Corps of Engineers Inland Waterways Trust Fund financing by establishing an annual fee paid by commercial navigation users, saving $180 million annually.  The report also recommended divesting the federal government of the Washington Aqueduct, which services Washington, D.C., and several Virginia suburbs, saving $118 million over five years.

The Army Corps of Engineers earmarks in FY 2024 contained four projects worth at least $100 million:  $236,800,000 for the Chickamauga Lock on the Tennessee River by House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Chuck Fleischmann (the largest non-anonymous earmark in FY 2024, earning Rep. Fleischmann CAGW’s May 2024 Porker of the Month award); $120,000,000 for a project on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois waterway system by Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee members Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Reps. Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.), Garret Graves (R-La.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), and Eric Sorensen (D-Ill.); $103,170,000 for the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-

ENERGY AND WATER (continued)

Ariz.); and $100,000,000 for a project on the Sabine-Neches Waterway System by Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas).  These four projects account for 37.6 percent of the $1,488,596,000 in Army Corps of Engineers earmarks.

Legislators have long treated the Army Corps of Engineers as a prime repository of pork, and it is among the most heavily earmarked areas of the federal budget.  Since FY 1996, members of Congress have added 7,566 earmarks for the Corps, costing taxpayers $20.9 billion.  The earmarks in the FY 2024 bill and all other Energy and Water appropriations bills with earmarks since 2014 contravene the provisions of the Water Resources Development Act of 2014, which excluded earmarks for any water projects, including the Army Corps of Engineers.

$36,000,000 for two earmarks to combat underwater pests, including $20,500,000 million for the aquatic plant control program, a 46.1 percent decline from the $38 million earmarked in FY 2023.

Since FY 1994, there have been 30 earmarks worth a total of $207.6 million for aquatic plant control, meaning the amount provided in FY 2024 represents 9.9 percent of the total over the past 30 years.  Legislators who have requested earmarks in the past for the aquatic plant control program include Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who requested three, and one each by then-Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

The bill also included $15,500,000 for aquatic nuisance control research, 32.3 percent less than the $22.9 million earmarked in FY 2023.  Since FY 1992, members of Congress have added 13 earmarks for aquatic nuisance research, costing $99.4 million. 

There is no indication as to which member of Congress will receive the FY 2024 funding to wage underwater pest warfare.

ENERGY AND WATER (continued)

$8,865,000 for two earmarks funding fish passages and fish screens, including $6 million added anonymously and $2,865,000 for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe for a fish screen at the Numana Dam in Nevada by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).

The anonymous earmark is a 45.5 percent decrease from the $11 million added without attribution in FY 2023.  Since FY 2000, members of Congress have added 26 earmarks costing $102.9 million for fish passage and fish screens.

V. FINANCIAL SERVICES

The number of earmarks in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act declined by 20.7 percent, from 246 in FY 2023 to 195 in FY 2024.  The cost of the projects decreased by 18.8 percent, from $230.2 million in FY 2023 to $187 million in FY 2024.

$116,541,000 for 144 earmarks for the Small Business Administration (SBA), a 30.4 percent decline from the 207 earmarks in FY 2023, and a 35.1 percent decrease in cost from the $179.7 million in FY 2023, but the FY 2024 amount is still the second highest cost for SBA earmarks.  

Since FY 1995 members of Congress have added 1,158 earmarks for the SBA, costing $961.4 million.

$17,500,000 for improvements at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas by Senate Appropriations Committee member Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).  The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), responsible for overseeing 15 Presidential Libraries across the country, received $22,224,000 for repairs and renovations in FY 2024 and requested $13 million for the same task in FY 2025.  Sen. Moran’s earmark is equal to 78.7 percent of the FY 2024 NARA budget for repairs and restoration and exceeds the FY 2025 request by $4.5 million, or 34.6 percent.

Sen. Moran’s earmark is tied for third highest ever with a FY 2009 earmark for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the late Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and then-Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).  The largest earmark of $22 million for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts was added in FY 2009 courtesy of then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), then-Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.).  The second largest earmark was $20 million for the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library at

FINANCIAL SERVICES (continued)

Mississippi State University in Starkville, added by Senate Appropriations Committee member Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) in FY 2022.

Since FY 2003, legislators have added 19 earmarks costing $128.4 million for 11 presidential libraries. 

$13,045,000 for 11 earmarks funding drug control programs at the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), including $5 million for a program in Arkansas by Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee member John Boozman (R-Ark.), $4.4 million for a program in Mississippi by Senate appropriator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), and $2.2 million for a program in Rhode Island by Senate appropriator Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Since FY 1996, members of Congress have added 41 earmarks for the ONDCP, costing $682.8 million. 

President Richard Nixon kicked off the War on Drugs on June 18, 1971, declaring drug abuse to be “public enemy number one.”  Since then, the U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion on drug interdiction policies, with little to show for it.  In fact, the problem has grown exponentially, especially with the rise of opioids.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths have increased fivefold in the past two decades, including 107,543 in 2023, which is 3 percent lower than 2022.

Then-ONDCP Director Richard Kerlikowske acknowledged the failure of the War on Drugs in May 2010, stating, “In the grand scheme, it has not been successful. … Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.” 

In addition to interdiction, ONDCP has been responsible for ad campaigns, including the Reagan administration’s “Just Say No” campaign, the Bush administration’s National Youth Anti-Drug

FINANCIAL SERVICES (continued)

Media Campaign targeting teenage marijuana use, and similar campaigns initiated by the Trump administration targeting opioid abuse.  Such ad campaigns are doomed to failure.  A December 2008 assessment found that the ONDCP’s anti-marijuana campaign may have had the opposite effect, stating, “more ad exposure predicted less intention to avoid marijuana use … and weaker antidrug social norms.”  A March 2015 report on 19 studies examining anti-drug media campaigns found that, while four campaigns provided some benefits, eight did not affect drug use or intended drug use, and two had the opposite result.

Piling earmarks on top of the more than $1 trillion spent is not the way to win the war on drugs.

VI. HOMELAND SECURITY

The number of earmarks in the FY 2024 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act increased by 18.9 percent, from 169 in FY 2023 to 201 in FY 2024.  The cost of the projects dropped by 11.8 percent, from $334.1 million in FY 2023 to $294.6 million in FY 2024.

$133,547,355 for 75 earmarks funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund (NPMF), a 25 percent reduction in number of earmarks from the 100 in FY 2023, and a 42.7 percent decline in cost from the $233 million in FY 2023.

The earmarks include:  $1,296,000 for Hendricks, West Virginia (population 211) by Senate Appropriations Committee members Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.); $1,040,000 for Estancia, New Mexico (population 1,306) by Senate appropriator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.); $975,000 for Greenville, Maine (population 741) by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine); and $525,000 for Calais, Vermont (population 1,662) by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Former President Trump’s FY 2020 Major Savings and Reforms recommended eliminating funding for the NPMF, stating that it is duplicative of other federal programs, and should be the responsibility of state and local governments.  Former President Obama’s FY 2017 Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings recommended reducing the NPMF by $46 million.

Since FY 2008, there have been 452 NPMF earmarks costing taxpayers $1.1 billion.

HOMELAND SECURITY (continued)

$85,897,100 for 75 earmarks funding emergency operation centers through FEMA, a 10.3 increase from the 68 in FY 2023 and a 0.3 percent reduction from the $86,140,285 in FY 2023.  The cost in FY 2024 is the second highest ever earmarked for the centers. 

The FY 2024 earmarks include $1,000,000 for Haines, Alaska (population 1,619) by Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and $245,000 for Stowe, Vermont (population 5,273) by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

In March 2022, the Haines government deactivated its emergency operations center, which was set up in 2020 as a coordination agency during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The center’s tasks were turned over to the borough, and there is no information later than December 2020 on the center’s website.  Like the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, this earmark could be named the Operations Center for Nowhere.

Each of former President Obama’s budgets from FYs 2010 through 2013 slashed funding for FEMA’s emergency operation centers grant program.  The FY 2012 budget stated that the program, “is largely comprised of congressionally-directed earmarks and award allocations that are not based on risk assessments.”

Since FY 2009, members of Congress have added 310 earmarks costing $288.7 million for the FEMA emergency operations centers

VII. INTERIOR

The number of earmarks in the FY 2024 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act grew by 33.3 percent, from 860 in FY 2023 to 1,146 in FY 2024.  Earmarks in FY 2024 cost $1.6 billion, a 5.9 percent decrease from the $1.7 billion in FY 2023.

$39,532,000 for 52 earmarks for the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), a 10.3 percent decline in earmarks from 58 in FY 2023, and a 33.8 percent drop in cost from $59.7 million in FY 2023.  Since FY 2000, members of Congress have added 1,012 earmarks for the HPF, costing taxpayers $320.3 million.

In past years, the majority of HPF earmarks funded the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grants program.  The FY 2024 Interior appropriations bill does not contain information regarding the designation of the spending, but given the consistency with past earmarks, presumably a majority of the funding is being directed through SAT.

The FY 2024 earmarks include $500,000 for the Vergennes Opera House in Vermont by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).  The opera house’s website contains a laundry list of needs ranging from a new heating boiler to new seating and estimates the total cost would be $178,000.  Thanks to Sen. Sanders’ earmark, the Vergennes Opera House can address everything and pocket the extra $322,000.  Since 1999, legislators have added 39 earmarks costing $11.2 million for opera houses across the country.

There is $500,000 for restoration of a historic gymnasium in Madison, Mississippi by Senate appropriator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.).  The Old School Gymnasium was originally constructed in 1936 at a cost of $37,432.  Sen. Hyde-Smith earmarked 13.4 times that amount in FY 2024.

INTERIOR (continued)

Senate Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) earmarked $200,000 for restoration of the S.S. John W. Brown, a World War II-era ship docked in Baltimore, Maryland.

SAT earmarks contributed to the downfall of former House Appropriations Committee member Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.).  In FY 2010, he added $150,000 for restoration of the Cottrill Opera House through the Vandalia Heritage Foundation, which was operated by a former aide, Laura Kurtz Kuhn.  This was one of several earmarks that led to Rep. Mollohan being accused of potential ethics violations, a key issue in his primary election loss in May 2010.

Former President Obama called for the elimination of the SAT program in the FY 2011 version of Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings, to allow the National Park Service (NPS) to “focus resources on managing national parks and other activities that most closely align with its core mission,” since the grants have “not demonstrated how they contribute to nationwide historic preservation goals.”

$4,038,000 for nine earmarks funding museums:  $1,500,000 for three earmarks divided equally among the Abbe Museum for Tribal Arts and Culture in Bar Harbor, Maine, Tides Institute and Museum of Art in Eastport, Maine, and Moosehead Marine Museum in Greenville, Maine by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine); $500,000 for the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island by Senate Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee member Jack Reed (D-R.I.); $500,000 for the Johnstown Flood Museum in Johnstown, Pennsylvania by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.); $500,000 for the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens, New York by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten

INTERIOR (continued)

Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); $487,000 for the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut and $251,000 for the Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut by Senate appropriator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.); and $300,000 for the Granger House Museum in Castleton, Vermont by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). 

The Mark Twain House and Museum gets 60,000 visitors annually and an increase in admission fees of $8.12 for each person would be equal to the amount of the earmark.  The famous writer and humorist could have been talking about earmarks when he said, “We have the best government that money can buy.”

The Granger House is owned by Castleton University and was supposed to become the home for its president until the university decided in 2022 to turn it into a museum.  For any purpose, the full fiscal responsibility belongs solely to the university, not every taxpayer across the United States of America.

Since FY 1991, members of Congress have added 1,459 earmarks for museums costing $1.7 billion.

$940,000 for three earmarks funding theaters:  $500,000 for the Anspacher Theater Preservation and Rehabilitation Project at the Public Theater in New York City by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); $300,000 for historic theater renovations at the Discovery World on Market in Parkersburg, West Virginia by Senate appropriator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.); and $140,000 for restoration of the Old Church Theater in Bradford, Vermont by Sen. Berine Sanders (I-Vt.).

The Public Theater, a nonprofit organization whose activities include the New York Shakespeare Festival, had total revenue of $70.5 million and total assets of $136.5 million according to its 2021 tax return.  The $500,000 earmark represents 0.7 percent of

INTERIOR (continued)

the revenue and 0.4 percent of the assets, making it easily affordable without making all taxpayers suffer the slings and arrows of paying for the project.

Like the museums that received earmarks, these theaters should have applied for competitive grants and received the funds solely on their merits.  Since FY 1991, legislators have added 409 earmarks for theaters costing $156 million.

VIII. LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION

The FY 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act (Labor/HHS) contained 1,073 earmarks, a 49.7 percent reduction from the 2,134 in FY 2023.  The cost of the earmarks was $1.4 billion, a 48.1 percent decline from the $2.7 billion in FY 2023.  The decline can be attributed to the prohibition against Labor/HHS earmarks in the House, although nine representatives circumvented this rule to receive earmarks costing $27.8 million jointly with at least one senator. 

$3,806,000 for nine projects funding museums, including $570,000 for the Mystic Seaport Museum by Senate appropriator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), bringing the combined total in earmarks for the museum in FY 2024 to $821,000. 

The museum had an endowment of $57.7 million at the conclusion of 2022 and received 248,345 visitors that year, meaning each guest could have paid an extra $3.30 to avoid federal taxpayers being on the hook for these earmarks.  The Mystic Seaport Museum has received 10 earmarks totaling $3 million since FY 2000.

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) received a $125,000 earmark for the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.  As of March 31, 2022, the museum reported total assets of $13.7 million and $2.7 million in cash on hand.  It reported hosting 176,882 visitors in 2022, meaning the museum could have charged everyone an additional $.71 to avoid charging all taxpayers.

IX. MILITARY CONSTRUCTION

Legislators added 143 earmarks in the FY 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, up by one from the 142 in FY 2023.  The cost of the earmarks decreased by 23.8 percent, from $2.1 billion in FY 2023 to $1.6 billion in FY 2024.

$292,000,000 for six earmarks, or 18.3 percent of the total cost of the earmarks in the bill, by Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

$131,700,000 for 15 earmarks, or 8.2 percent of the total cost of earmarks in the bill, by Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

$19,800,000 for three earmarks funding fitness centers:  $9,000,000 for an Army National Guard facility in Strafford, New Hampshire by Senate appropriator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.); $8,800,000 for a fitness center at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama by Senate appropriator Katie Britt (R-Ala.); and $2,000,000 for a dining and fitness center at the Air National Guard installation at the Atlantic City International Airport by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

X. STATE AND FOREIGN OPERATIONS

The FY 2024 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act contained a single earmark, down from two in FY 2023It cost $11,915,000, or 43.3 percent less than the $21,000,000 in FY 2023.

$11,915,000 for international fisheries commissions (IFCs), down by 0.3 percent from the $11,953,000 million earmarked in FY 2023.  Made up of various marine conservation organizations and commissions, IFCs have received 13 earmarks totaling $128.3 million since FY 1997. 

Congress should let taxpayers off the hook and tell the IFCs to chum the water for money elsewhere.

XI. TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

The FY 2024 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act contained 3,422 earmarks, a 43.2 percent increase from the 2,389 in FY 2023, the third highest jump in the number of earmarks of any bill.  The cost of earmarks increased by 8.9 percent, from $5.6 billion in FY 2023 to $6.1 billion in FY 2024.

For the second straight year, the THUD bill included the most earmarks of the 12 appropriations bills at the second highest cost.

$255,089,000 for 77 earmarks by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine), including $20,462,000 for the Presque Isle International Airport, $475,000 for the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Inc., for a Maine Trail Center, and $239,000 for the Penobscot Theatre Company for improvements to the Bangor Opera House.  The company reported  a budget shortfall of $200,000 and reduced its $2 million budget for 2024 by $400,000, including cutting back on the number of shows, so “improvements” worth more than the budget shortfall at the expense of taxpayers across the country seem more like a bailout for an organization whose future is uncertain.

Sen. Collins’ FY 2024 THUD earmark haul equals 4.2 percent of the total cost of earmarks in the bill.  In total, Sen. Collins received 231 earmarks costing $575.6 million, the most of any legislator.

$136,900,000 for 57 earmarks by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), including $8,175,000 for the Rosedale-Bolivar County Port Commission for restoration of the Great River Railroad, $2,500,000 for the Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point, Mississippi, and $990,000 for the renovation of the Masonic Temple in Grenada, Mississippi.

TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (continued)

$134,321,024 for 75 earmarks by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), including $8,000,000 for streetscape improvements in the town of Ramapo, New York, and $6,000,000 for two earmarks for the Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, New York.

$29,742,337 for 24 earmarks by 28 members of Congress funding bike paths spread across 13 states, a 29.2 percent increase in the number from seven in FY 2023, and a 37.3 percent increase in cost from the $11.1 million earmarked in FY 2023.

The total cost and number of bike path earmarks are both the highest ever.  Since FY 1991, members of Congress have taken taxpayers for a ride by adding 164 earmarks costing $144.6 million for bike paths, meaning 20.6 percent of the total cost was earmarked in FY 2024.

$12,350,000 for seven earmarks funding museums:  $4,000,000 for the Urban Civil Rights Museum, $1,750,000 the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and $1,000,000 for the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); $3,000,000 for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.); $2,000,000 for the Portland Museum of Art by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine); $500,000 for the Ukrainian Museum-Archives in Cleveland, Ohio by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio); and $100,000 for the Jefferson County Museum in Charles Town, West Virginia by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee members Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (continued)

At the conclusion of FY 2023, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held net assets of $5 billion, a 6 percent increase from $4.7 billion in 2022.  The $1.75 million earmark equals 0.035 percent of the museum’s assets, so it can easily afford to avoid charging all taxpayers from across the country.

The World War II Museum had $384 million in net assets at the end of its FY 2023, a 6 percent increase from $363 million in FY 2022.  The $3 million earmark equals 0.8 percent of the museum’s assets, and like the Met, it could also not force taxpayers to cover the cost.

$5,353,279 for five earmarks funding arts programming:  $2,300,000 for the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts in Claremont, New Hampshire by Senate appropriator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.); $1,116,279 for the Highland Parks Youth Arts Center in Los Angeles, California by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.); $1,000,000 for the Fitchburg Arts Community in Massachusetts by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); $489,000 for the Christina Cultural Arts Center in Wilmington, Delaware by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.); and $448,000 for the Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sidney, Maine by Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

$4,020,000 for two earmarks funding theater restoration:  $3,000,000 for the Iola Theatre in Kansas by Senate THUD Appropriations Subcommittee member Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and $1,020,000 for the Foster Theater in Youngstown, Ohio by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). 

According to the Iola Theater website, it is “funded entirely by private contributions.”  Someone might want to modify that sentence, especially when the $3 million will be used for the

TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (continued)

theater’s mission to host “community gatherings, live music, class reunions and weddings, as well as the occasional seasonal film showing.”  The Iola Theater Association, which is raising money for the restoration, had revenue of $107,472 in 2022, so a handout from taxpayers might be the only way to get the job done.

The Foster Theater was purchased by the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) for $99,000 in 2021, to “remove the XXX theater along the Glenwood (Avenue) corridor.” In June 2023, the city council approved $100,000 for a plan to turn the building into apartments with retail space on the first floor, and the YNDC said it had “leveraged around $1 million” toward a $2 million goal at the end of 2023.  But there is no reason to work that hard when a senator will just write a check from the Treasury to pay for what is clearly a local project undeserving of a penny from taxpayers across the country.

Citizens Against Government Waste Presents

Pig Book “Oinkers” of 2024

Recognizing Dogged Perseverance in the Mad Pursuit of Pork

Pig with solid fill

The Whole Hog Award

to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for 231 earmarks costing $575,580,000, the highest amount received, and 23.4 percent more than the legislator in second place.

Pig with solid fill

The House of Pork Award

to Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) who received 13 earmarks costing $270,330,940, the most in the House of Representatives.

Pig with solid fill

The You Cannot be Serious Award

to Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for $1,750,000 for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, which held net assets of $5 billion in 2023.

Pig with solid fill

The Taking Taxpayers for a Ride Award

to the 28 members of Congress who received 24 earmarks costing $29,742,337 to fund bike and pedestrian paths.

Pig with solid fill

The Broadband Bandits Award

to the 14 members of Congress who received 10 earmarks costing $11,385,000 to fund broadband projects despite the availability of enough money to connect every unserved area of the country.

Pig with solid fill

The Singing a Sour Note for Taxpayers Award

to Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Collins for a combined $739,000 for opera houses, including $500,000 by Sen. Sanders for the Vergennes Opera House in Vermont and $239,000 by Sen. Collins for the Bangor Opera House in Maine.

Pig with solid fill

The Closing the Curtain on Taxpayers Award

to the 17 members of Congress who received 15 earmarks costing $8,153,000 for local theaters.

Pig with solid fill

The Crabby Pork Award

to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for $4,000,000 for the Alaska King Crab Enhancement Project.

Pig with solid fill

The We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat Award

to Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) for $190,000 for a shark repellant study at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, which had an operating budget of $35,739,237 in 2023.

Pig with solid fill

The Presidential Library Industrial Complex Award

to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) for $17,500,000 for improvements at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas.

Pig with solid fill

The Fiscal Unfitness Award

to Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) for $500,000 for restoration of a historic gymnasium in Madison, Mississippi.

This booklet was written by Sean Kennedy, director of research and policy.  It was edited by Thomas A. Schatz, president.

More Praise for CAGW and the Pig Book

“You owe it to yourself to get this book at cagw.org.  Check your outrage meter when you’re done. … Don’t read the Pig Book and weep.  Read it, get angry, call your representatives and ask them to give up earmarks for good.”

Syndicated Columnist Cal Thomas, July 19, 2017

“The government watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) published their annual report on wasteful government spending and found that Congress is not keeping Kosher. … To showcase the size of the problem, CAGW held a press conference on Wednesday morning featuring lawmakers and Faye, a full-grown pot-bellied pig and mascot for government waste.”

Leandra Bernstein, WJLA, July 19, 2017

“The fire of anti-Washington sentiment that’s burning through the country this election season has found some new fuel in the latest Congressional Pig Book, an annual tome detailing federal government waste.”

Doug McKelway, Fox News, April 13, 2016

“Even though actress Fran Drescher spoke at the National Press Club Tuesday, the real eye turner could be found down the hall at an event held by Citizens Against Government Waste.  The organization released its annual Pig Book, detailing some of the biggest ‘porkers’ – or earmark lovers and their pet projects – in Congress. … And to add some heft to their presentation, the organization brought out two real pigs – Dudley and Winnie – who did their part to oink about government waste.”

Politico, April 15, 2009

“[CAGW] just hosted its well-known Washington awards show, complete with men in pig costumes – and actual pigs.  Citizens Against Government Waste has been rolling out the swine awards for nearly 20 years, and … they’ve identified $290 billion in pork spending since 1991.”

FOX Business Network, April 14, 2009

“The least popular book in Congress comes out today.  The Pig Book, a digest of Washington's wasteful or so-called pork spending.”

Chris Cuomo, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” April 2, 2008

“The Pig Book portrays a Congress with an insatiable appetite for ‘pork,’ spending your tax dollars on pet projects, often to help members win votes – or campaign contributions.”

CBS, “The Early Show,” April 2, 2008

“The Pig Book.  It sounds like a children’s story, but it is anything but.  We’re talking about some very serious cash here. … Criticism by this group is not one-sided.  Democrats and Republicans are being held in the spotlight for their earmarks.”

CNN, April 2, 2008

“In one of those sure signs of spring in the nation’s capital – right after the cherry blossoms – comes release of the Congressional Pig Book.  For 18 years now Citizens Against Government Waste has been contributing to the public debate over congressional spending on earmarks, exposing the way members of Congress spend the taxpayers’ money on projects of either dubious merit or projects that simply have not been awarded competitively or been subject to public hearings.”

Boston Herald, April 5, 2008

“Citizens Against Government Waste is Washington’s leading opponent of pork-barrel spending.  Its annual Pig Book, which lists the government’s narrow giveaways, is used by news outlets worldwide to ridicule federal earmarks.”

Jeff Birnbaum, The Washington Post, February 20, 2007