The Washington Post notes that Alaskans are fretting the potential fallout of the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, for not disclosing more than $250,000 in gifts from VECO Corp. Taxpayers for Common Sense sums it up more succinctly:
Taxpayers for Common Sense has released the last four years of earmark data for Alaska to help create an understanding of how powerful Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has remained as an appropriator. The new research has found that Senator Stevens has secured or played a significant role in securing more than 891 earmarks worth $3.2 billion, which comes to $4,872 per capita over the last four years. This is more than 18 times the national average of $263 per capita for the same four years.
This number is higher than the numbers reported by others because TCS researchers have obtained the locations of many of the defense earmarks which typically are not disclosed.
In other words, he brought home steaming heaps of pork.
Taxpayers for Common Sense do more digging on earmarks than anyone else — worth noting that their figures on Stevens were cited by the Post in the above-linked report.
I also found this piece (hat tip InstaPundit) of interest — and would add one more wrinkle for people to think about. There were something like 32,000 to 36,000 earmark requests that came in to the House Appropriations Committee in 2007 — taking the low figure, that’s an average of 73 per lawmaker (of course, there are many lawmakers that make no requests, so that 73 figure is low to begin with). How much time do members spend evaluating these requests? An hour? Less? More? How much due diligence does a member put into requesting an earmark? And how much time, relative to earmarks, do members devote to issues like health care or social security or Medicare or the tax code or even simply the big ticket items in the appropriations bills they’re loading up with favors? Can they see the forest for the earmarked trees?