Combing through records compiled by the spending watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste, Hotline‘s Reid Wilson writes that members of the 52-person Congressional Tea Party Caucus requested more than $1 billion in earmarks during the 2010 fiscal year. From Wilson’s piece:
[...]the 52 members of the caucus, which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available.
“It’s disturbing to see the Tea Party Caucus requested that much in earmarks. This is their time to put up or shut up, to be blunt,” said David Williams, vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste. “There’s going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks.”
In founding the caucus in July, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she was giving voice to Americans who were sick of government over-spending.
Wilson notes that 14 caucus members refrained from requesting earmarks in FY 2010, including Bachmann, and all have pledged to abide by the Republican earmark moratorium going forward. But this is one more example of how rhetoric about the importance of fiscal austerity often doesn’t align with reality. This week Bachmann has denounced Congress’ $1.2 billion settlement with black farmers as “scamming the federal taxpayers.” As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune points out, her family farm has received more than $250,000 in federal farm subsidies over the past decade.