(WASHINGTON FREE BEACON) — The cost of earmarks totaled $6.8 billion in fiscal year 2017, up 33.3 percent from the previous year, according to Citizens Against Government Waste’s 2017 Congressional Pig Book.
The cost of earmarks hit a record high of $29 billion in fiscal year 2006, and lawmakers have increased the use of earmarks each year. Since fiscal year 2012, the cost of earmarks increased by 106.1 percent.
“Earmarks create a few winners (appropriators, special interests, and lobbyists) and a great many losers (taxpayers),” the group states. “They contribute to the deficit directly, by tacking on extra funding, and indirectly, by attracting votes to costly legislation that might not otherwise pass.”
Although an earmark moratorium was implemented, and there have been fewer earmarks than in peak years, the report notes that there is still a lack of transparency.
“Unfortunately, the earmark moratorium has not only failed to eliminate earmarks, but also has rendered the process patently less transparent,” the report states. “There are no names of legislators, no list or chart of earmarks, and limited information on where and how the money will be spent.”
This year, according to the report, there are more earmarks for agriculture, defense, energy, the interior, state and foreign operations, and housing, to name a few.
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