Fiscal year 2010 earmarks now available on LegiStorm
LegiStorm has added legislative earmarks for fiscal year 2010 to our earmark database.
The earmark data is courtesy of the Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS), a non-partisan group which scoured bills in Congress looking for the spending provisions. The TCS data was released late last month and we have worked since then to put the data into a relational database format so it could be searched properly by member and organization.
TCS compiled a list of 11,856 earmarks in the FY2010 appropriations bills. The earmark data includes earmarks requested by members of Congress, as well as those included in the president's budget request. The latest batch of earmarks total more than $37.8 billion, including $15.9 billion in legislative earmarks that were not requested by the president.
This is down slightly from last year, when there were about $19.9 billion in legislative earmarks and $39.2 billion overall.
However, an analysis of the numbers by TCS shows that much of the decline in legislative earmarks comes from differences in how some requests are allocated. According to TCS, when the numbers are adjusted to show consistent numbers from year to year, Congress actually appropriated slightly more money through earmarks this year, compared to $15.6 billion in FY2009.
The LegiStorm database allows users to search and browse by lawmaker, organization, state, bill and other criteria.
Earmarks are spending measures directed at a specific organization or purpose which do not undergo the usual competitive process. Proponents say only elected representatives know best what their constituents need. Critics call them wasteful and corrupting, pointing to burgeoning scandals and even criminal charges aimed at some of the more seedy practices in this growth industry.