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Author:  Tony Phyrillas
Bio: Tony Phyrillas
Date:  December 13, 2007
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Congressional Democrats lead in pork spending

What was that Democrats were saying about changing the culture of corruption in Washington? What was that about draining the swamp? Do as I say, not as I do is the official motto of the Democratic Party.

What was that Democrats were saying about changing the culture of corruption in Washington? What was that about draining the swamp?

Not only have Democrats failed to live up to their promise of ending "business-as-usual" in Washington, but 20 freshmen Democrats elected as part of the Democratic tide in 2006 have spent most of 2007 wallowing in the same muck as the Republicans they defeated.

USA Today is reporting that 20 freshman Democrats in the House and Senate have secured $70 million in pork barrel projects for their districts.

The worst offenders? Four Democrats elected in Pennsylvania House districts. Topping the list of Senate porkers is freshman Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

Nothing changes in Washington except who sticks his hand in your pocket. Last year, it was Republicans. This year it's the Democrats.

Below is the list of Special-Interest Spending published by USA Today, showing the 20 freshman members of Congress who had the most special-interest spending, or "earmarks," in the House and Senate spending bills, according to the newspaper. This includes only spending items with a single sponsor, not multiple sponsors, the newspaper notes.)

Member, Party, State, (District) Total Earmarks

Rep. Christopher Carney, D-Pa. (10th) $18,185,000Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa. $16,649,579Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa. (4th) $12,475,000Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa. (8th) $11,822,500Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa. (7th) $11,175,000Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va. $11,000,000Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa (1st) $10,586,540Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Wis. (8th) $10,485,000Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky. (3rd) $10,456,000Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas (22nd) $10,423,537Rep. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind. (8th) $10,356,000Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. (11th) $10,333,000Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. (5th) $10,325,000Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind. (9th) $9,760,000Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. (2nd) $9,640,000Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif. (11th) $9,275,000Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H. (2nd) $8,806,000Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. (at-large) $8,781,000Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Ohio (6th) $8,726,000Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y. (24th) $8,425,000

Source: USA TODAY analysis based on data from Taxpayers for Common Sense

The revelation that Democrats were now the kings of Congressional pork was noted by Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Robert A. Gleason Jr.

"Pennsylvania Democrats sure have some answering to do," Gleason said in a written statement. "After criticizing former members of Congress for securing funding for pet projects, every freshmen member of Pennsylvania’s Democrat Congressional Delegation was listed at the top of the list when it comes to securing earmarks for their pet projects. While on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania last year, Sen. Bobby Casey Jr. and Congressmen Chris Carney, Jason Altmire, Patrick Murphy, and Joe Sestak each promised to put a stop to pork-barrel spending; however, all have proven that they care far more about Washington politics than their promises.

"What this report does not reflect is that each one of these Democrats had to give up a vote for something else to get their smaller piece of the pot to fund projects in their districts. The simple truth is that each one of these Democrats had to first agree to send hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, including money from Pennsylvania, all over this country in order to receive any funding for their pet project. Is this the change that Democrats promised last year?

"Every one of these Democrats has flip-flopped on their campaign promise to ensure the proper spending of our hard-earned tax dollars. Pennsylvanians' distrust with these elected officials is sure to grow, and I can only imagine that it will be difficult for them to trust anything they say as they campaign next year. They all seem to be from the Clinton school of politics – stand for nothing, say whatever is popular at the time, and sell out early and often

Keep in mind these are only freshmen members of Congress. The King of Congressional Pork continues to be Rep. John Murtha, also of Pennsylvania. Read more about Murtha's antics at the Boot Murtha Web site.

For more background on Congressional pork spending, I recommend

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Biography - Tony Phyrillas

Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (, his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas

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