Jaimie "Pork-Barrel Spending"

Excessive pork-barrel spending by our congress must be regulated! Do you have any ideas on how to stop or prevent the extreme pork? Please email me your opinion at pleaseleaveamessage1@gmail.com from another email account between 10:30 am and 11:45 am on Wednesday, April 28, and we can chat. Please put my name in the message title.


Jaimie Bearden

Pork-Barrel Spending Controversy

To inform

As a result of my presentation, my audience will be able to explain to others what pork-   barrel spending is and the positive and negative effects of pork-barrel spending.


[PP: Cover Slide] (5) I have made some homemade bread for everyone to enjoy while I give my speech. Please help yourselves and enjoy. [PP: PJC] Almost two million Americans could get a two-year college education at P.J.C. with the money Congress is spending on pork-barrel items in just one year, based on the less than 1% of the 2010 federal fiscal budget per the Whitehouse website. My name is Jaimie Bearden and I am going to inform you on pork-barrel spending. (8) As Congressman Lee Hamilton said in his book, How Congress Works and Why You Should Care, “Pork-barrel spending projects are frequently inserted by powerful members in spending bills surreptitiously, literally in the dark of the night.” Yet in the last fifteen years our Congress has been spending more money on these pet projects, which only help a very small percentage of Americans and can lead to political corruption. (7) I first heard of the term pork-barrel spending during the presidential election of 2008. I was so shocked to hear that our citizens, you and me, could allow this misuse of our money and corruption to continue to take place. (6) You are a citizen of the United States of America. You need to know how a bill is passed and what can be contained inside the bill. It is your duty to be aware of how your congress is spending your money. Pork-barrel spending should be understood so you can make educated choices on the politicians that you plan to vote for in future elections. You should also be aware of the projects that they support and be educated enough to know whether or not they will benefit our entire country in the long run. My goal is for each of you to understand pork-barrel spending and be able to explain this political term to your friends and families. (9 & 10) Today I will be discussing where you can find pork-barrel items in bills, the definition of pork-barrel spending and some positive and negative examples these items.


  1. Bills

You can find pork-barrel spending inside different legislation bills called appropriation

bills, which is basically a spending bill. These bills authorize the federal treasury to spend federal money on a particular project.

      A. Appropriation Bills

Bills are passed in different levels of congress. [PP: Congressman] The bills are submitted by members of congress into [PP: Committees] committees. [PP: Report] Committees report these bills [PP: Congress] and [PP: Debate x2] then are debated in the house and senate. [PP: House] First, the house majority must approve the bill, then the [PP: Senate] senate and finally the [PP: President] president. To obtain these votes, particular incentives are added into the bills, by these [PP: Committees] committees, and these [PP: Incentives] incentives may have nothing to do with the original bill. These incentives are favors for members of congress to vote for the bill. The bill is not considered changed by congress, because the main objective of the bill stays the same, only additional earmarks are added. As Professor Gilbert stated in our interview, “Sometimes a particular bill may not have any benefit for their interests. Their vote is still needed by those who sponsor or need a bill to pass. They may offer an incentive to another member in order to get their vote.

    1. Omnibus Bills

These incentives or projects are stuffed into Appropriation bills and are most noticeable in Omnibus bills. [PP: Omnibus] The omnibus bill contains several spending bills into one and can be anywhere from over three thousand to five thousand pages long. The members of congress must read these bills thoroughly and the committees are constantly revising the earmarks inside the original bill to try to get the bill passed by congress, similar to what is going on with the controversial $18 billion Jobs Bill or the estimated $829 billion HealthCare Bill. Congressman Hamilton stated, “It may happen within a day of the final vote on a spending measure, and most legislators don’t even notice. Nothing is more frustrating for members of congress than to vote for a major national legislation only to discover later that is also contained obscure pork-barrel items. When legislators do notice a particular project and have concerns about it, they are often reluctant to object, because they may have legislation or projects of their own they don’t want to put at risk.” Some of you may be confused with some of the political terms I been saying.

    1. Pork-Barrel Spending Definition

Pork-barrel spending, sometimes called projects, earmarks or appropriations, are the incentives added into spending bills. These incentives may not even have anything to do with the objective of the bill. They can be a great benefit to a small percentage of Americans or a manipulative tool for politicians to get reelected and help out their campaign contributors. [PP: Salt Pork] It originally got its name from a salt-pork barrel that was sometimes used as currency back in the early nineteenth century. It was a way to pay for something without exchanging money. [PP: CAGW] The non-profit, non-partisan organization, Citizens Against Government Waste wrote [PP: Pig Book] The Pig Book and stated, “Total pork identified since 1991 adds up to $290 billion.” [PP: Hungry] Can you imagine how many hungry people we could feed with $290 billion dollars since 1991? Unfortunately, these projects can be so vigorously fought for it can lead to political suicide or even prison. However, there are some benefits of pork-barrel spending.

    1. Positive Pork-Barrel Spending

Pork-barrel spending can bring a great financial blessing to many areas of our country. These projects can help out a community economically as in the case of the San Antonio River Walk.

    1. San Antonio River Walk

[PP: San Antonio River Walk] The San Antonio River Walk is just one example of pork-barrel spending. Special correspondent, Michael Drudge states, “Millions of federal tax dollars have been spent on this River Walk. San Antonio claims the River Walk generates nearly $9 million in annual revenues and employs over 90,000 people.” I’m not saying that no good can come from pork-barrel spending; I’m just saying that we need to be aware of our politician’s views on this excessive spending.

    1. Politicians and Congress

[PP: Obama] The Pig Book states, that the presidential candidate Barack Obama, a senator who represented Illinois, sponsored 53 earmarks in 2007 that totaled more than $97 million. [PP: McCain] The Republican Party Presidential candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizonian, opposes pork-barrel spending and sponsored no projects earmarked for his constituents. The Pig Book also stated that there was a 337 percent increase in these projects in the fiscal year of 2007. These projects are increasing rapidly every year. Sometimes these projects can leave a negative mark on some of our politicians.

    1. Negative Pork-Barrel Spending

Some politicians will go to great lengths to promote their pet projects. They will be deceptive at the reasons for promoting these projects. Some will even deny the conspiracy, even after all evidence proves they have misused our federal money to accomplish their own selfish goals. 

    1. Political Manipulation

These projects can be a manipulative tool for politicians to get reelected and help out their campaign contributors. David Williams is the vice president of Citizens Against Government Waste. He stated in my phone interview that “West Virginia has received billions in pork-barrel spending, yet still has one of the lowest per-capita incomes of all the states. Pork-barrel spending only creates temporary jobs.” He also stated that “This is a relatively new phenomena and our founding fathers did not plan for pork-barrel spending and these pork-barrel items do not help our states.” I have seen how these politicians can go to great lengths for these projects that it can jeopardize their political career and even their freedom as in the case with Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

      1. Cunningham

[PP: Cunningham] Cunningham was on the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Condon and Stern stated that Cunningham admitted accepted gifts of money, cars, boats, even prostitutes, for congressional earmarks in defense contracts for his campaign contributors. On March 3, 2006, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns sentenced Cunningham to eight years and four months in federal prison. It breaks my heart that such an honorable veteran and powerful politician could get involved into such corruption.  I confirmed these allegations by the FBI Interview and Summary by SA Maurice J. Hattier, Jr.

      1. John Murtha

[PP: Murtha] The late Representative John Murtha who was also head of a powerful defense committee was not shy about directing taxpaying dollars to those who generously gave to his campaign funds or pumping our money into his district. His admittance of spending our federal money in his extreme pork-barrel items is surprising. Most politicians were not as upfront with their extreme pork.

    1. Extreme Pork

The extreme pork is a very delicate subject for many politicians. Many do not admit they were even involved in pork-barrel projects, but like to simple call them appropriations. However, when you misuse federal money for personal goals it can lead to political suicide.

    1. Political Suicide

It breaks my heart that these politicians are risking their careers for this extreme pork and irresponsible spending of our taxpaying dollars. As Congressman Hamilton said, “Yet I would agree that you can find some mighty debatable appropriations in each year’s federal budget-[PP: Statue; Fish] 1.5 million aimed at refurbishing a statue in one powerful senator’s state, 650,000 for ornamental Fish research, [PP: National Cowgirl Museum] $90,000 for the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and millions for various memorials and special projects that, in the scheme of things, will benefit relatively few Americans.”

    1. Senator Tom Harkin

[PP: Harkin] In an effort to defend another earmark in the $410 Billion ‘Omnibus’ Spending Bill of 2008, Senator Tom Harkin stated on the senate floor, “I’m sure that [PP: Leno and Letterman] David Letterman will probably be talking about it and Jay Leno will be talking about it, we’ve got $1.8 million to study why [PP: Pigs] pigs smell.”

    1. Omnibus Bill of 2008

Brian Riedl, from the Heritage Foundation stated that in the Omnibus Bill of 2008 there pork items like, [PP: Tattoo] “$200,000 for Tattoo Removal Violence Prevention Outreach Program and $1,049,000 to combat [PP: Crickets] Mormon Crickets in Utah.” [PP: Cow Flatulence] Another example of extreme pork is $19 million to study gas emissions from cow flatulence. David Dickson, from the Washington Times, states, “$1.9 million for a [PP: Water Taxis] water taxi in Connecticut.” Finally, $375 million for an unrequested and unneeded amphibious assault ship in the state of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.  


       (20) The powerful members of these committees are where we find most of the corruption or wasteful spending occurring inside these enormous ‘omnibus’ bills. [PP: Omnibus] I mean who can read a three thousand to five thousand page bill anyway? Projects, earmarks and appropriations are all names of pork-barrel spending. Remember that not all pork-barrel spending is wasteful. There are a small percentage of Americans who reap fabulous rewards. Also, not all pork-barrel spending is corrupt, but when a politician sneaks earmarks into bills the night before and those earmarks support his major campaign supporters, some corruption may be hiding.  (21) Ladies and gentleman, do not hide from the stench anymore, be informed and wouldn’t you rather be a part of sending almost two million future generations of the United States of America in one year, to obtain a two-year college degree here at P.J.C.? Please enjoy the homemade bread, however, be aware because there is pork hiding inside.



Riedl, B. (2007, October 11). Congress Loads Spending Bills with Pork and Earmarks.

      Retrieved January 27, 2010, from www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm1660.cfm 

Riedl, B. (2009, March 2). Omnibus Spending Bill: Huge Spending and 9,000 Earmarks

Williams, D., Kennedy, S., Rouston, K. & Schaltz, T. (2010) Citizens Against Governmental Waste; 2009 Congressional Pig Book Summary. Retrieved February 14, 2010, from

Drudge, M. (2008, August 1). “Pork Barrel” Spending Emerging as Presidential Campaign

Torry, J., & Riskind, J. (2005, November 5) The Columbus Dispatch. Ney Ordered To Turn Documents In On Lobbyist. Retrieved February 14, 2010, from http://www.citizensforethics.org 

Riedl, B. (2007, October 11). Congress Loads Spending Bills with Pork and Earmarks.

   Retrieved January 27, 2010, from www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm1660.cfm

Condon, Jr., G. & Stern, M. (2007, July 17). Imprisoned Cunningham Outlines Depths of

   Corruption to FBI. Retrieved February 14 2010, from

Hattier, Jr., H. (2007, February 7). Federal Bureau of Investigation FD-302 (Rev. 10-6-

Dickson, D. (2009, April 15). Political Pork that Stinks - Literally. The Washington Post

Williams, D., Personal Communication. February 24, 2010

Gilmore, M., Personal Communication. February 24, 2010

Jen Ehrhardt,
Apr 21, 2010, 9:41 AM