Appropriations Leaders and Their Earmark Requests
We’re at a whopping 30,000 earmark requests in our database – just crossed over that number tonight – and one of our intrepid earmark hunters finally entered the requests of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. That means we have both Appropriations chairmen.
So let’s look at the people who move the money around. (“Appropriations” means “spending,” in case you didn’t know.) Let’s see how the most powerful appropriators did with their requests:
First, there’s David Obey, Democratic representative of Wisconsin’s 7th district. He is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. The Constitution actually requires spending bills to originate in the House, so he’s the top appropriator in all of Congress.
Obey has a nifty 99 requests, according to our collection of data. (Remember, it’s always subject to correction.) The damage? Just under $362 million. Not a bad haul. We’ll see, of course, how many of his own requests he grants . . . .
Take a look at a map of Wisconsin earmarks with a list of Obey’s beneath it here.
Next up, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Daniel Inouye (D) from Hawaii. Chairman Inouye more than doubles the number of requests from Obey – our data put him at 203 earmark requests. And the dollar amount? $653 million.
When you consider that Senator Inouye represents an entire state and Obey just one district, earmarking a bunch more makes sense. Over half a billion dollars? Aloha, Daniel Inouye!
You can see Hawaii’s earmark requests and a list Senator Inouye’s here. (Remember to slide the map over toward Hawaii, of course.)
It wouldn’t be right to leave out the Republican appropriations leaders. I’ve heard that they can be more successful with earmarks because, unlike chairmen, they don’t have to pass a bill. Their affection might have to be bought. Let’s just see . . . .
Jerry Lewis—no, not that Jerry Lewis—represents the 41st district of California. His 90 earmark requests add up to just about $219 million. Downright quaint, compared to the others.
The map of California earmarks and a list of Lewis’ can be found here.
Then there’s the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Thad Cochran from Mississippi. He has requests—wait, hang on—
And when you investigate, you see why . . . . Senator Cochran put awful scanned PDFs up on his Web site. These are very difficult to gather data from.
Anyone who has OCR capability in their PDF software can improve it, but it will still be quite a bit of work. Senator Cochran’s office is welcome to send us the data in cleaner form—or put it in the database themselves. For the time being, Senator Cochran escapes our gaze, but we’ll give him an especially careful look when we get his data.