“Citizens Against Government Waste is Washington's leading opponent of pork-barrel spending.”- Washington Post
2014 Congressional Pig Book
For the second time since Congress enacted an earmark moratorium beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2011, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has found earmarks in the 12 appropriations bills funding the federal government.
While a single earmark violates the moratorium, at least the number and cost of the earmarks contained in H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, decreased from FY 2012, the last time Congress passed the spending bills. Earmark totals dropped by 28.3 percent, from 152 in FY 2012 to 109 in FY 2014, while the cost declined by 18.2 percent, from $3.3 billion in FY 2012 to $2.7 billion in FY 2014, the lowest amount since 1992. The costs in both 2012 and 2014 are significant reductions from the record $29 billion in earmarks set in FY 2006.
The 2012 Pig Book noted that although there were fewer earmarks than in prior years, the projects involved larger amounts of money and included fewer details. This is also true in 2014. For instance, a $25 million earmark for the National Predisaster Mitigation Fund appearing in the FY 2014 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act corresponds to 58 earmarks totaling $24.6 million for the same program in the FY 2010 DHS bill. The 2010 earmarks appeared in the “Congressionally Directed Spending” section at the end of the bill, which contained the names of the members of Congress requesting each project and its location, as required by the pertinent transparency rules. This is in stark contrast to the FY 2014 earmark, which contains no such information.
The 2014 omnibus package was certified as earmark-free by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio). Members of Congress will argue that their standards differ from the earmark criteria used in the Pig Book, but that has been true since the first Pig Book in 1991. The pork-free claim can also be challenged based on the inclusion of projects that have appeared in past appropriations bills as earmarks. In addition to meeting CAGW’s long-standing seven-point criteria, to qualify for inclusion in the 2014 Pig Book a project or program must have appeared in prior years as an earmark. The total number and cost of earmarks are, therefore, quite conservative.
The question for Senate and House leaders and the few individual members who can be directly identified as having requested earmarks in FY 2014 is: why were these projects previously considered earmarks, but not in 2014?
Unfortunately, the earmark moratorium has not only failed to eliminate earmarks, but also made the process patently less transparent. Since earmarks were deemed to be non-existent in the FY 2014 omnibus bill, there are no names of legislators, no list or chart of earmarks, and limited information on where and why the money will be spent. Earmarks were scattered throughout the legislative and report language, requiring substantial detective work to unearth each project. While the lower number and cost of earmarks are an improvement over prior years, transparency and accountability have regressed immeasurably.
The earmarks in FYs 2012 and 2014 raise disturbing questions for the future, particularly since representatives and senators from both sides of the aisle continue to clamor for their revival. One of the most frequently-used arguments in favor of earmarks is that they would help pass certain spending bills. In the past, however, members have voted for excessively expensive legislation because they have received a few earmarks, which means the moratorium has helped restrain spending. Should Congress get back on the pork-barrel track, there will be an increased risk of corruption, the potential for an explosion in earmarks, and the enactment of more costly legislation.
The latest installment of CAGW’s 22-year exposé of pork-barrel spending includes $90 million to upgrade the M1 Abrams tank, which is opposed by the Pentagon; $15 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, secured by Senate Appropriations Committee member Patty Murray (D-Wash.); $5.9 million for the East-West Center, a “victory” for Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii); and $150,000 for the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, a pet project of Senate Appropriations Committee member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).
The projects in this year’s Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most blatant examples of pork. As in previous years, all the items in the Congressional Pig Book meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:
- Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
- Not specifically authorized;
- Not competitively awarded;
- Not requested by the President;
- Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
- Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
- Serves only a local or special interest.
Members of Congress have long used the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to feed at the trough. The number of earmarks rose by 400 percent, from two in FY 2012 to 10 in FY 2014, while the cost increased by 657.3 percent, from $10.3 million in FY 2012 to $78 million in FY 2014. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the Rural Business Cooperative Service received $60.7 million, or 77.8 percent of the total cost of the earmarks.
$10,000,00 for high energy cost grants through the Department of Agriculture. The grants are intended to assist communities whose energy costs exceed 275 percent of the national average by funding the construction, installation, and repair of energy distribution facilities. This may sound like a bright idea, but the RUS Electric Loan program is intended to achieve the same objective. Both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations have attempted to eliminate the high energy cost program. President Obama’s FY 2013 version of Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings noted that low-interest electric loans are available through the RUS to residents of rural areas served by the high energy cost program. The grants are available in Alaska, Hawaii, several communities in certain other states, and in U.S. territories. Since FY 2002, high energy cost grants have received five earmarks totaling $103.5 million.
$3,000,000 for the Delta Regional Authority (DRA). Established in 2000, the DRA is supposed to provide economic development assistance to support the creation of jobs and improve local conditions for the 10 million people who reside in 252 counties and parishes throughout the Mississippi Delta states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. These efforts are duplicative of other federal programs and support mostly local projects. Since FY 2003, the DRA has received five earmarks totaling $14.8 million.
While there were no earmarks in the FY 2012 version of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, one earmark worth $15 million sneaked its way into the FY 2014 version. Members of Congress should be congratulated for eliminating the plethora of earmarks that previously appeared in such programs as Community Oriented Policing Services, but the lone earmark in this bill is a stain on an otherwise pork-free piece of legislation.
$15,000,000 for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF). A January 14, 2014 press release by Senate Appropriations Committee member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) stated that she secured “$65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, representing an increase of $15 million about [sic] President Obama’s proposed FY14 budget request in order to support state, local, and tribal programs that help improve salmon habitat. PCSRF was established by Congress in fiscal year 2000 to protect, restore and conserve Pacific salmon populations and their habitats and supports conservation and recovery of Pacific salmon species across the rivers, watersheds, and coastal habitats of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, and California.” Since FY 2000, 19 earmarks costing taxpayers $134.5 million have been added for the PCSRF. From FYs 2008-2010, the three years in which members of Congress were required to identify their earmark requests, Sen. Murray added 575 earmarks costing taxpayers $779.5 million. ;
The Department of Defense (DOD) Appropriations Act usually contains the most earmarks each year, and the FY 2014 bill did not break this tradition. The 58 earmarks contained in the bill represent a 14.7 percent drop from the 68 in the FY 2012 version, while the $1.6 billion in earmarks is down by 20 percent from the $2 billion in the FY 2012 bill. The cost of the earmarks in this bill represents 59.3 percent of the $2.7 billion contained in the 12 appropriations bills for FY 2014.
$866,400,000 for 26 earmarks for health and disease research under the Defense Health Program, including five earmarks worth $255.5 million for cancer-related research. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014 provided $4.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute, making the defense cancer research redundant. Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) November 2012 report, The Department of Everything, pointed out that the DOD disease earmarks added by Congress mean that “fewer resources are available for DOD to address those specific health challenges facing members of the armed forces for which no other agencies are focused.” According to the report, in 2010 the Pentagon “withheld” more than $45 million for overhead related to earmarks, which means those funds were unavailable for national security needs or medical research specifically affecting those serving in the military.
A March 14, 2012 Washington Post article stated that DOD Comptroller Robert Hale proposed decreasing the DOD health budget in part by eliminating “one-time congressional adds,” which totaled $603.6 million in FY 2012 for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. On March 23, 2013, Sen. Coburn offered an amendment to the FY 2013 Budget Resolution that would have eliminated programs at the DOD that were not related to defense, which would include such unnecessary health and disease research. Sen. Coburn’s amendment was defeated by a vote of 56-43.
$239,000,000 for five earmarks funding peer-reviewed cancer research, including studies on breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. Funding research on endemic cancers is a responsible use of taxpayer money. However, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Act of 2012 provided $5.1 billion for the National Cancer Institute, making the earmarks in this bill redundant. According to a March 14, 2012, Washington Post article, Defense Comptroller Robert Hale proposed decreasing the DOD health budget in FY 2013 in part by eliminating “one-time congressional adds” in which members of Congress appropriate funding for research on specific diseases. This apparently had no impact on Congress’ spending addiction.
$90,000,000 for continued upgrade of the M1 Abrams tank to the M1A2SEP variant. Congress thereby maintained its longstanding tradition of jamming through unwanted funding for the M1 Abrams tank program in FY 2014. This earmark was added despite the repeated protests of Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno, who has stated that the Army has more than enough tanks, including 2,000 sitting idle in the California desert. The Army has proposed delaying the M1 upgrade program until 2017, saving taxpayers $3 billion. During this timeframe, the DOD would focus on designing the next generation of tanks, which would be better equipped for the changing nature of warfare. Intended to take on other tanks, the M1 Abrams proved susceptible to asymmetric tactics, such as improvised explosive devices employed by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congress continues to disagree with General Odierno’s assessment because the tank has suppliers spread across numerous congressional districts. An April 2012 letter arguing for continuation of the upgrade program was co-signed by 173 representatives. The 2014 omnibus bill hints at a parochial incentive for continuing the program, stating that the funding will be used for “maintaining critical industrial base capability.” There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned jobs program disguised as national security. Since FY 1994, there have been 37 earmarks for the M1 Abrams program, requested by at least 13 members of Congress, costing taxpayers $788.6 million.
$60,000,000 for alternative energy research, spread across three programs. Since FY 2004, Congress has used the defense appropriations bill as a vehicle to insert 24 earmarks worth $234.9 million for this purpose, despite the fact that the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act supplies billions for alternative energy research every year.
On March 13, 2012, Senate Armed Services Committee member John McCain (R-Ariz.) asserted that the Navy’s efforts to develop biofuels to power its planes and ships could turn into another “Solyndra situation,” citing the solar panel manufacturer that received a $535 million loan guarantee through the Department of Energy before filing for bankruptcy in September 2011. According to Sen. McCain, the Navy spent in excess of $400 per gallon for approximately 20,000 gallons of algae-based biofuel. In a February 2011 hearing, House Armed Services Committee member Randy Forbes (R-Va.) fired a shot across the Navy’s bow, telling Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, “You’re not the secretary of Energy. You’re the secretary of the Navy.” While members of Congress took a positive step in reducing the amount earmarked for alternative energy research in the DOD bill by 50 percent from $120 million in FY 2012, this funding should be zeroed out in FY 2015.
$25,000,000 for the Starbase Youth Program, which teaches science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to at-risk youth in multiple locations at or near military bases around the country. Since FY 2001, seven earmarks costing taxpayers $44 million have been directed toward Starbase, including an earmark worth $1.9 million in FY 2010 added by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
A February 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) annual report on program duplication, overlap, and fragmentation found that $3 billion was spent in FY 2010 across 13 agencies for 209 STEM programs, 83 percent of which overlapped with at least one other program. President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposed the consolidation or elimination of 31 STEM programs across the federal government, although no savings were included in the proposal.
$7,000,000 for the Rand Arroyo Center. Located in the district of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the facility has received four earmarks costing $15.4 million since FY 2005. In FY 2010, Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member James Moran (D-Va.) requested a $1.6 million earmark for the center, and Sen. Feinstein also added a $4 million earmark in FY 2009.
$5,100,000 for peer-reviewed autism research. Within the FY 2012 Labor/HHS appropriations bill, $69.1 million is already set aside for research on autism.
$5,000,000 for the Starbase Youth Program, which teaches science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to at-risk youth in multiple locations at or near military bases around the country. A February 7, 2012, Washington Post article criticized the role of Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), along with seven other senators, in directing $4 million to the Starbase program in 2008. During this timeframe, Sen. Johnson’s wife worked for the Spectrum Group; she was tasked with evaluating Starbase as well as managing its website. After hiring Mrs. Johnson, the Spectrum Group submitted a lobbying registration form listing Mrs. Johnson as a lobbyist, although the company later claimed the form was submitted in error. Since FY 2001, six earmarks costing taxpayers $19 million have been directed toward Starbase, including an earmark worth $1.9 million in FY 2010 added by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
A February 2012 GAO report on program duplication, overlap and fragmentation found that $3 billion was spent in FY 2010 across 13 agencies for 209 STEM programs, 83 percent of which overlapped with at least one other program. Eliminating the Starbase Youth Program would reduce that number to only 208.
$3,200,000 for peer-reviewed bone marrow failure disease research. This funding is redundant, since there is $23.4 million for research on bone marrow disease in the FY 2012 Labor/HHS appropriations bill.”
The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act is not as flooded with pork as it has been in the past. The number of earmarks declined by 67.4 percent, from 46 in FY 2012 to 15 in FY 2014, while the cost went down by 48.1 percent, from $667.6 million in FY 2012 to $346.7 million in FY 2014. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) was not the recipient of any earmarks in FY 2012, but funding trickled back in for FY 2014. While the number of Army Corps of Engineers earmarks dropped by 69.4 percent, from 36 in FY 2012 to 11 in FY 2014, the average dollar value swelled by 83 percent, from $14.7 million in FY 2012 to $26.9 million in FY 2014.
$15,699,000 for the ARC, a regional economic development agency established by Congress in 1965. Of the amount earmarked, $10 million will fund a high-speed broadband deployment program to “diversify and enhance regional business development.” However, three federal agencies, the Federal Communications Commission, the National Information and Telecommunications Administration and the RUS already spend the taxpayers’ money to bring broadband to underserved areas. The ARC itself duplicates the mission of other federal economic development programs. On July 10, 2013, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) offered an amendment to the FY 2014 Energy and Water appropriations bill that would eliminate all funding for the ARC, the Delta Regional Authority, the Denali Commission, and two other regional commissions. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 147-273. Since FY 1995, the ARC has received six earmarks totaling $148.7 million for projects in Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
$2,604,000 for the Denali Commission, which was established in 1998. The commission’s inspector general, Mike Marsh, stated in September 2013 that “I have concluded that [my agency] is a congressional experiment that hasn’t worked out in practice…I recommend that Congress put its money elsewhere.” President Obama targeted the commission for elimination in his FY 2012 budget, arguing that its projects are not funded through a competitive or merit-based system and that at least 29 other federal programs could fulfill the commission’s mandate. Since FY 2000, 25 projects costing taxpayers $293.2 million have been earmarked for the Denali Commission, most of which were requested by former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). His legacy of Denali pork has been carried on by the Alaska delegation. Senate appropriator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) requested six earmarks costing taxpayers a total of $51 million in FYs 2009 and 2010; Senate appropriator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) requested two earmarks jointly with Sen. Murkowski in FY 2010, costing taxpayers $12.3 million; and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) also requested one of the FY 2010 earmarks, costing $10 million.
$1,280,000 for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) through the Army Corps of Engineers. A March 6, 2014 letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell from all 16 members of the Georgia congressional delegation expressed support for SHEP. In addition, Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee member Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is in favor of more federal funding for SHEP because he believes it will help the Port of Charleston. Since FY 1995, SHEP has received 11 earmarks totaling $33 million.
The number of earmarks in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act tripled to three in FY 2014 from one in FY 2012, while the cost increased by 21.6 percent, from $38.5 million in FY 2012 to $46.8 million in FY 2014. Members of Congress should be congratulated for eliminating the numerous earmarks for the Small Business Administration that have plagued previous bills, but an earmark-free bill would have been a better result.
$45,122,000 for the high intensity drug trafficking areas program (HIDTA) at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Originally intended for border states, members of Congress have used earmarks to expand HIDTA to non-border states. Since FY 1997, 28 earmarks costing taxpayers $161.6 million have been provided for HIDTA programs; 16 of the earmarks were directed to programs in 10 states, only two of which, Arizona and New Mexico, are border states. The other eight states that received HIDTA earmarks were Alabama, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
The President’s FY 2015 version of Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings recommended trimming the HIDTA program by $46 million, or 19.2 percent, from the $239 million spent in FY 2014. Unfortunately, the proposed reduction is almost the same as the $45.1 million earmarked in FY 2014, so taxpayers should expect to see more HIDTA earmarking in the FY 2015 appropriations bill.
$150,000 for the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, a 20-year-old program that gives prizes for achievements in agricultural and life sciences as well as homeland security research. Since its creation, no administration has ever requested funding for the foundation. President Obama has labeled the program inefficient and redundant, cited its high overhead costs, and has included it in each of the administration’s annual submissions of spending cuts, consolidations, and savings. Members of Congress have attempted to cut funding, including Sen. Coburn, who in 2011 introduced S. 475, which would have enacted the President’s suggestion to eliminate the foundation along with several other proposals from the administration’s FY 2011 Terminations, Reductions, and Savings. In 2013, House Republicans targeted the foundation in an initiative entitled YouCut, which allowed online voters to choose potential spending reductions.
A January 22, 2013 Washington Post article explained how the program has been so resilient: it has a very powerful patron on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Each time the program has been threatened by the President or budget hawks in Congress, Senate Appropriations Committee member (and former chairman) Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has swooped in to restore funding, including in FY 2008 when Sen. Cochran requested a $600,000 earmark for the foundation. While this year’s earmark cannot be positively attributed to Sen. Cochran, given his past support for the program, it seems highly likely that his fingerprints are on the earmark.
As the preeminent congressional porker, Sen. Cochran requested 709 earmarks costing taxpayers $1.9 billion between FYs 2008-2010, the three years in which members were required to identify their earmark requests. He requested both the highest number and dollar amount of earmarks in each of those years.
The dollar amount of earmarks in the FY 2014 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act skyrocketed by 261.5 percent, from $87.9 million in FY 2012 to $317.8 million. The number of earmarks remained at six in FY 2014, meaning each earmark cost taxpayers substantially more than in FY 2012. None of the earmarks in the DHS bill received a budget request from the President..
$100,000,000 for the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), which has received four earmarks totaling $589 million since FY 2005. A November 2011 GAO report found that DHS’ port vulnerability funding formula did not take into account “the implementation of PSGP-funded security projects.” The GAO recommended that the PSGP could strengthen its vulnerability measure by accounting for the results of previously-funded projects.
$98,000,000 for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC), which strives to increase the preparedness of first responders to the threats of terrorism. Since FY 2005, the NDPC has received four earmarks worth $261.6 million.
$64,991,000 for the Center for Domestic Preparedness, which received a $13 million earmark in FY 2000.
$25,000,000 for the National Predisaster Mitigation Fund (NPMF). The Obama administration first proposed eliminating the NPMF in its FY 2013 budget, yet Congress continues to earmark funding. Since FY 2008, there have been 205 NPMF earmarks, requested by more than 100 members of Congress, costing taxpayers $125.6 million. $21,094,000 for the National Exercise Program, which aims to assess and improve the country’s preparedness and resiliency. This program also received a $50 million earmark in FY 2004.
To the relief of taxpayers, the number of earmarks in the FY 2014 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act decreased by 78.6 percent, from 14 in FY 2012 to three in FY 2014. The dollar amount dropped by 80.8 percent, from $92.3 million in FY 2012 to $17.7 million in FY 2014.
$9,285,000 for the Heritage Partnership Program (HPP) through the National Park Service. Since 2001, HPP, which supports the 49 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) created by Congress, has received 48 earmarks worth a total of $45.2 million for projects that include “park improvements, sports complexes, health centers, water quality monitoring, bike paths, sustainable agriculture, and agricultural tourism.” President Obama’s FY 2014 version of Terminations, Reductions, and Savings recommended cutting the program’s funding from $17 million to $9 million. A 2009 assessment of the HPP found that the program “lacks a systematic process to identify and designate NHAs.” Funding for individual areas is not allocated through a competitive process, and there are no national performance measures to hold the NHAs accountable for the use of federal funds.
$3,364,000 for the Valles Caldera National Preserve, an 89,000-acre ranch located in New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains that the federal government purchased in 2000 for $101 million. It was scheduled to no longer drink from the trough of federal funds by 2015, and the Forest Service was supposed to take over operations from the Valles Caldera Trust in 2020 if the facility could not meet the self-funding directive. Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and former Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) were responsible for two earmarks for Valles Caldera in FYs 2008 and 2009 worth a total of $6.9 million. Since FY 2001, the preserve has received seven earmarks worth a total of $17.1 million.
Much to the dismay of taxpayers, earmarks in the FY 2014 Labor/HHS Appropriations Act increased by 166.7 percent, from three in FY 2012 to eight in FY 2014, while their total cost skyrocketed by 473.7 percent, from $22.4 million in FY 2012 to $128.5 million in FY 2014. The Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE), which made a less than triumphant return after a six-year earmark hiatus, received $21.1 million, or 16.4 percent of the earmarked funds in the FY 2014 bill.
$21,100,000 for FIE, which provides grants to state and local education agencies, nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations and other public and private entities “to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education at the state and local levels.” In his FY 2011 and FY 2012 budgets, President Obama did not request funding for FIE. Since FY 2001, FIE has received 2,570 earmarks costing taxpayers $1.3 billion.
$14,409,000 for Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants (Flex) through the Department of Health and Human Services. Flex grants were created to “improve access to hospitals and other health services for families that live in rural communities.” In his FY 2015 version of Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings, President Obama requested that the Flex program be cut by $14 million, or $409,000 less than the amount that was earmarked in FY 2014. Since FY 2006, Flex grants have received three earmarks totaling $93.5 million.
$5,000,000 for abstinence education. Since 1996, the United States has spent more than $1.8 billion for abstinence education programs. In FYs 2008 and 2009, former Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) was responsible for 47 abstinence education earmarks in Pennsylvania worth a total of $1.4 million. Since FY 2001, 128 earmarks worth $18.2 million have been provided for abstinence education programs. The earmark in FY 2014 (among others) demonstrates that Congress cannot abstain from pork.
The number of earmarks in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act remained consistent from FY 2012 to FY 2014, with four appearing in each bill. However, the cost increased by 35 percent, from $127.7 million in FY 2012 to $172.4 million in FY 2014.
$130,500,000 for the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). Created in 2005 by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, UNDEF supports global democratization efforts and has funded more than 400 projects in more than 100 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Since FY 2009, UNDEF has received four earmarks totaling $481.3 million. The Obama administration has never requested funding for UNDEF.
$31,550,000 for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a private, nonprofit foundation that aims to help grow and strengthen democratic institutions around the world. Since FY 1997, NED has received four earmarks worth a total of $114.6 million.
$5,900,000 for the East-West Center in Hawaii, which is intended to promote better relations with Pacific and Asian nations. The center was established by Congress in 1960 with no congressional hearings, and over the State Department’s opposition. For years, the State Department tried to eliminate the center by not requesting funding in the department’s annual budget requests. After Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) passed away in 2013, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) willingly stepped up to the plate to defend the center. In a January 16, 2014 press release, Sen. Schatz claimed an appropriations victory for adding the $5.9 million to the FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill, making it clear that he is responsible for this earmark. Since FY 1997, the East-West Center has received 11 earmarks totaling $109.7 million.
$4,400,000 for the Inter-American Foundation (IAF). IAF is an “independent U.S. foreign assistance agency that pro¬motes and invests in citizen-led grassroots initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean.” President Obama proposed a reduction in funding for IAF in each of his proposed budgets, including a cut of 19.6 percent, from $22.5 million to $18.1 million in FY 2015, and has recommended that IAF continue to seek partnerships with corporate foundations to leverage additional funding. Since FY 2001, IAF has received two earmarks totaling $16.4 million.
This booklet was written by Sean Kennedy, Director of Research, and Alexandra Booze, Manager of Media/Policy. It was edited by Thomas A. Schatz, President.