Thanks to the work of Alex Gourley and data from Taxpayers for Common Sense, politician pages now have basic information about the earmarks they've requested: the size and number requested and the size and number eventually passed.
"Earmark" is the catch-all term for the requests that Congresspeople attach to bills requiring Federal money be given to particular people or places. They've been in the news a lot lately, criticized as a form of corruption in which Congresspeople hand out money to lobbyists or campaign contributors instead of letting civil servants or the bidding process handle it.
As with other Congressional perks, they're not exactly distributed evenly. Our chart shows how House leaders like Nancy Pelosi come out on top, with hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks, while newcomers like Laura Richardson get only hundreds of thousands.
Whatever your feelings on earmarks, we hope this data is interesting to you. Thanks to Alex and Taxpayers for Common Sense for making it possible.
posted by Aaron Swartz on 2008-05-07T00:00:00Z