List of 216 earmark requests leads to fierce competition for FFM honors
While Congress is now required to post earmark requests online, the e-word evidently still makes some members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation uncomfortable. On his website, for example, 18-term Congressman James Oberstar refers to “constituent inspired funding” requests, an Orwellian nickname for earmarks.
In fact, three members of Minnesota’s delegation no longer pursue any “constituent-inspired funding” whatsoever—Cong. Michele Bachmann, Cong. Erik Paulsen and Cong. John Kline.
Congressman Tim Walz’s website offers an unusual disclaimer: “These funding requests do not add funds to the federal budget, but set aside funds for a specific project that would otherwise be allocated to—and spent by—federal bureaucrats.”
Regardless of whether it’s federal bureaucrats or Members of Congress who allocate the funds, of course, taxpayers pick up the bill. So what’s the bottom line for taxpayers on earmarks requested by Minnesota’s delegation?
A Freedom Foundation of Minnesota analysis indicates the state’s congressional delegation has compiled 216 earmarks worth hundreds of millions of dollars in potential spending. And that’s before Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken add their earmarks in coming weeks and months. Earmark requests by representatives Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, and Collin Peterson can be viewed at their respective websites.
While many earmark requests will ultimately be rejected by Congress, dozens will receive your tax dollars. In 2010, the Minnesota delegation boasted 102 earmarks that cost taxpayers more than $68 million, a figure that soars far higher after adding in joint earmarks with members from other states, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
FFM has compiled a top ten list of the most memorable Fiscal Year 2011 earmark requests compiled by the Minnesota delegation totaling $22 million in funding.
Disclaimer: Exclusion from this list should not be viewed as an implied endorsement of the Minnesota delegation’s 200 plus additional earmark requests
Tips, comments or suggestions? Contact Tom Steward, FFM Investigative Director. 952-451-3684.