Taxpayer Group Crowns New Congressional ‘King of Pork’, ‘Top Narcissists’ for 2010

( – Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and were the top award “winners” in the 2010 Congressional Pig Book Awards issued Wednesday by the taxpayer group Citizens Against Government Waste.

Harkin and Byrd jointly won the “Narcissist Award” for 2010 – a little-coveted award given to those members of Congress who request taxpayer money to fund projects named after themselves.

Harkin asked for $7,287,000 to continue what he calls the “Harkin Grant” program for renovating Iowa public schools.

Byrd similarly asked that $7 million in taxpayer funds be directed to the Robert C. Byrd Institute of Advanced Flexible Manufacturing Systems, which provides workforce training in technical manufacturing skills.

Meanwhile, Cochran, a Republican, beat out Democrat Byrd for the title of “King of Pork” – a label conservatives have often given to Byrd as a backhanded way of acknowledging the long-serving senator’s ability to appropriate earmarks for his home state.

In 2010, however, Cochran requested money for 240 favored projects, raking in a total of $490,176,000 this year — more than any other senator. He was followed by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who asked to spread $387,514,850 over 151 projects.

CAGW, which has tracked legislative earmarks or “pork-barrel” spending for two decades, also bestowed “honors” of dubious distinction to Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), who took home the “Jekyll and Hyde Award” for flip-flopping on his position on earmarks, and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), who won the “Hal Bent on Earmarking Award.”

According to CAGW, Lance first signed a no-earmark pledge, then he requested $20,752,000 in earmarks, and finally supported the earmark moratorium that House Republicans imposed on themselves in March.

Rogers, meanwhile, requested $10 million to fund the National Institute for Hometown Security, a research institute focused on protecting critical infrastructure, which is located in his state.

Each award-winner is highlighted in the “2010 Congressional Pig Book” – the taxpayer group’s annual report on those who had made the most audacious plays for pork.

According to CAGW President Tom Schatz, the awards recognize “dogged perseverance in the mad pursuit of pork.”

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