Authors of the annual congressional “Pig Book,” a report on government waste and earmarks, say political spending between fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015 has risen to such an extent, they’re worried.
“While the number of earmarks … decreased by 3.7 percent from 109 in fiscal 20144 to fiscal 2015, their costs jumped by 55.6 percent, from $2.7 billion in fiscal 2014 to $4.2 billion in fiscal 2015,” Citizens Against Government Waste officials wrote, in their “2015 Congressional Pig Book Summary.”
The report then reminded of the 2011 congressional ban on earmarks, and said current appropriations bills are in violation.
“Even though a single earmark would violate the  moratorium, it is particularly worrisome to see such a significant increase in the cost of earmarks,” the report said.
CAGW president Tom Schatz said congressional members have gotten a lot sneakier about adding in the earmarks.
For example: A $25 million appropriation for the National Pre-disaster Mitigation Fund from last year now shows in the fiscal 2015 Department of Homeland Security bill to be 58 different earmarks, totally $24.6 million.
“Now we don’t know exactly where [the money’s] going,” he said, during a Fox New interview. “There’s more behind the scenes.”
Among the group’s most hated earmarks: A $3 million appropriation for the Delta Regional Authority, an economic development assistance program for 10 million living in 252 counties the Republican Study Committee criticizes as “duplicative of other federal programs.”
Another: A $15 million Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to “reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead” at a cost, since fiscal 2000, of nearly $780 million, CAGW found.
And one more: A $1 billion-plus allotment for 27 different earmarks in the Defense Health Program, all aimed at health and disease research.
“Since fiscal 1996, members of Congress have added 612 earmarks for health and disease research, costing taxpayers $8 billion,” CAGW found.