Call them earmarks or just plain pork. If other lawmakers in Washington have mastered the art of bringing home the bacon, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur has figured out the art of hauling back several whole hogs.
After crunching the numbers for 2008 appropriations bills passed by the House, Congressional Quarterly last month ranked Kaptur seventh in the House in placing earmarks in the bills. That's out of 435 members.
An earmark is an amendment that a lawmaker inserts into a spending bill to fund a pet project. Critics refer toearmarks as "pork" and say that lawmakers who use them are spending taxpayer dollars to ensure their re-election. Lawmakers such as Kaptur note their constituents pay taxes, too, and deserve a fair share of funding.
Congressional Quarterly's rankings showed that Kaptur, a Toledo Democrat, is credited with 48 earmarks with a total value of about $65 million.
By comparison, the average Democratic lawmaker is credited with $10.3 million of earmarks while the average Republican is getting$8.7 million.
Congressional Quarterly's calculations understate Kaptur's financial clout. Using the same databases cited by Congressional Quarterly -- project lists compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense at taxpayer.net -- the Register found 64 earmarks with Kaptur's name on them.