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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Specter, GOP Members Are Earmark Champions on Senate Appropriations Committee, Feinstein Tops Democrats

CORRECTION: Folks, I misread the report on which the following data was taken. First, all of these earmarks are for museum projects only and thus are far from representing all of the earmarks that may have been requested by a particular senator. Second and more important, these earmarks are grouped by state in the report and were not necessarily requested by the senator from that state who sits on the Appropriations Committee.
I apologize for the foulup here, which is entirely my own and not in any way the result of the good folks at Porkbusters, Instapundit or anybody else. I done this one all by my lonesome!
At least this incident illustrates a distinct advantage of the Blogosphere over the Mainstream Media - you get the correction here within minutes. With the other guys, it would be tomorrow at the earliest before the dead-tree edition would carry a correction.
How's that for finding a silver lining?

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-PA, is the most frequent requester of earmarks on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, with 77 requests for such special interest spending measures between 2001 and 2006.

Specter lead the earmark fest that saw GOP members of the panel request an average of 27 earmarks during the five years. By contrast, the dozen Democrat members of the committee requested an average of 17 earmarks.

Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-CA, was the leading earmark requester among Democrat members of the appropriations committee, with 75. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, was shown with only one earmark request.

The data for this analysis was compiled for a report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, chaired by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK. The report was based on information provided by the Congressional Research Service.

Trailing Specter - who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee - among the top five GOP requesters was Sen. Mike DeWine, R-OH, with 53, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-AK, with 33, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, with 21, and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-MS, with 19. Cochran is chairman of the committee.

DeWine faces a tough re-election battle in November. Stevens made headlines last year when he threatened to resign if Congress withdrew funds for the infamous "Bridges to Nowhere," which will be located in his state.

Cochran, along with Sen. Trent Lott, R-MS, has requested the "Railroad to Nowhere," a $700 million earmark to tear up a recently rebuilt rail line on the Gulf Coast and move it a short distance away.

Trailing Feinstein among the top five Democrat earmark requesters on the appropriations panel were Sen. Richard Durbin, D-IL, with 39, Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, with 21, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA, with 19 and Sen. Daniel Inuoye, D-HI, with 14.

During the same 2005 Senate battle in which Stevens threatened to resign, Murray threatened retaliation against earmarks sought by senators who voted in support of Coburn's efforts to expose and curtail such special interest spending measures.

Here are the names, party identification and number of earmarks requested by each member of the Senate Appropriations Committee between 2001 and 2006:

Shelby
R
21

Stevens
R
33

Allard
R
10

Craig
R
2

Brownback
R
3

McConnell
R
14

Cochran
R
19

Bond
R
18

Burns
R
2

Gregg
R
3

Domenici
R
13

Dewine
R
53

Specter
R
77

Hutchinson
R
19

Bennett
R
7

Feinstein
D
75

Inouye
D
14

Durbin
D
39

Harkin
D
19

Landrieu
D
9

Mikulski
D
12

Reid
D
1

Johnson
D
3

Leahy
D
5

Murray
D
21

Byrd
D
6

Kohl
D
9

GOP Average
27.16667
Dem Average
17.75

UPDATE: Thursday Ledger is Up!

The Heritage Foundation's fine roundup of media and blogger coverage of the earmark issue is up and you can read it all here. Don't miss the items on Coburn's hearing today on how Congress ignores its own budget rules and The New Orleans Times-Picayune report on Lott's disapointment over the failure of Senate and House conferees to reach agreement on the emergency appropriation bill.

UPDATE: Walker is Swinging

Comptroller General David Walker that is and Heritage's Andrew Grossman has a full report here, including Walker's analysis of how three reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire apply to America today as a result of the spending and entitlements crisis.