Retired U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) received the "The Whole Hog Award" from Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) on Thursday for securing 18 earmarks costing $666.4 million, the most of any member of Congress in the current fiscal year.
The total was 23.1% more than the member of Congress, with the second-most earmarked total, according to CAGW.
CAGW president Tom Schatz said in a statement, "At a time when Americans continue to suffer from the highest inflation in 40 years, members of Congress increased the cost of earmarks by 38.1%, or more than seven times the 5% rate of inflation."
"There is no good news in that number other than the formal return of earmarks at least gives taxpayers more information about which members of Congress are bringing home the bacon and which received CAGW's Oinker Awards. More than 99% of Democrats got earmarks compared to 49% of Republicans, and only two of the top 50 porkers were from the House of Representatives," Schatz continued. "The top five porkers, representing less than 1% of the 535 members of Congress, got $2.7 billion, equal to 10.3% of the total cost of earmarks. The 89 members of the House and Senate appropriations committees, equal to 17% of Congress, got 41.4% of the earmarks and 29.9% of the money, similar to FY 2022, and proving once again that earmarks disproportionately benefit those who sit on powerful committees. The members of Congress who agreed to restore and take earmarks are willfully ignoring or have forgotten why this corrupt, costly, and inequitable practice was first subject to the moratorium."
Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in government.
Shelby's earmarked projects included $200 million for the Alabama State Port Authority, $100 million for Department of Transportation work on the Woolsey Finnell Bridge over the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa, and $76 million for the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Medicine.
Shelby retired after not seeking re-election in 2022. He is the longest-tenured U.S. Senator from Alabama at 36 years.
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