LegiStorm adds all 2009 earmarks to site
LegiStorm has now doubled its availability of legislative earmarks, adding $19.9 billion worth of so-called "pork barrel" projects from the 2009 fiscal year to its searchable 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, finding 11,286 in all.
Earmarks are controversial because they are spending directed at a specific organization or purpose but 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.
The 2009 figure represents a 9% growth over the amount spent in the 2008 fiscal year on such provisions.
Actually, the full total is even greater if including the additional $19.3 billion in earmarks that were at least requested in part by the administration. Those so-called presidential earmarks are also included in LegiStorm's database.
The LegiStorm database allows users to search and browse by lawmaker, organization, state, bill and other criteria.
TCS has already some made some 2010 fiscal year earmark data available. We hope to begin adding that data to our database soon.