Lobbyists big winners in earmark war

Earmarks have been a boon to Mississippi. Consider that Mississippi, one of the smallest states, ranked second only to California, one of the largest, in getting earmarks, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. Reports show Mississippi received $2.1 billion in congressional earmarks since 2008.

Our access to earmarks has been facilitated by the rise of Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran to top positions on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

As chairman or ranking member, Cochran has been able to direct millions of dollars toward home.

For example, in the omnibus spending bill that failed this past December, the senator had inserted 281 earmarks worth $561 million. These included the largest earmark in the bill, $34.9 million for Delta Health Alliance, $17 million for Stennis Space Center, $21.7 million for a Gulf Coast weapons test facility, and $20.8 million for a Homeland Security center.

Bill Crawford
Hattiesburg-American
2/2/11