Released today by Citizens Against Government Waste, this year’s “Congressional Pig Book” listing myriad federal pork-barrel spending projects tips the scales at 19 percent “fatter” than last year.

According to the organization, Congress spent more tax dollars on pork spending – pet projects requested by individual lawmakers for their districts – this year than in any other year in history at $27.3 billion. Last year’s total rang up at $22.9 billion.

For Fiscal Year 2005, members of Congress put in 13,997 projects, an increase of 31 percent over last year’s total. In the last two years, CAGW says, the total number of projects has increased by 49.5 percent.

“Despite a record $427 billion deficit predicted for fiscal 2005, members of Congress are engaging in the worst form of blatant self-interest – larding the budget with pork for home districts and states,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said in a statement.

Some examples of this year’s pork-barrel projects include:

  • $10,000,000 for the International Fund for Ireland;

  • $3,000,000 for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation;

  • $1.7 million for the International Fertilizer Development Center;

  • $1,430,000 for various Halls of Fame, including $250,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn., and $70,000 for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wis.;

  • $350,000 for the Inner Harmony Foundation and Wellness Center in Scranton, Penn.;

  • $100,000 for the Tiger Woods Foundation; and

  • $100,000 for the Bach to School Program.

“Whether for ‘inner harmony’ or attracting tourists, a member of Congress will give any number of reasons why a pet project is essential, even if it means circumventing the budget process to pay for it,” Schatz said. “But after 15 years of tracking congressional excess, CAGW has found that pork projects rarely accomplish the lofty goals set by members of Congress. The true legacy of pork is its contribution to the $7.8 trillion national debt.”

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