The Top 10 List of Senate Earmarkers:
1. Byrd (D-WV) - $122,804,900
2. Shelby (R-AL) - $114,484,250
3. Bond (R-MO) - $85,691,491
4. Feinstein (D-CA) - $76,899,425
5. Cochran (R-MS) - $75,908,475
6. Murkowski (R-AK) - $74,000,750
7. Harkin (D-IA) - $66,860,000
8. Inhofe (R-OK) - $53,133,500
9. McConnell (R-KY) - $51,186,000
10. Inouye (D-HI) - $46,380,205
The most notable on the list is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at #9. It puts him in an tough position as he is now the de facto leader of the Republican Party, which has made earmarks a symbol of wasteful spending in Washington.
At home, McConnell touted the money he secured for Kentuckians during his reelection campaign last year. Some Republicans complain in private that McConnell’s pursuit of earmarks blunts their attacks against Democrats for wasteful spending.
According to Taxpayers for Commone Sense, a nonpartisan government spending watchdog, the $410 billion Omnibus spending bill has around $7 billion worth of earmarks.
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill intends to hit the Senate floor this week to call out McConnell and other Republicans for "hypocrisy." Her stance is that many of the same Republicans who have railed against the Democratic economic stimulus bill for containing earmarks, are now "lining up at the trough."
"You can’t have it both ways," McCaskill said yesterday on CNN. "You can’t be half-pregnant on this."
The Missouri Democrat is one of a just handful of senators from both parties who refuse earmarks.
Check out Keith Olbermann's report on the Republican earmark hypocrisy below.