CBS Austin: Texas Congressmen Go Hog Wild For Earmarks 198_CBS_Austin_Earmarks

December 23, 2022 08:18 AM


Exclusive to CBS KEYE-Austin

This week, Congress is voting on another enormous “omnibus” spending bill – a catch-all bill designed to keep the government funded without going through the normal budget process. 

Unfortunately for taxpayers, both parties are up to their old tricks: the $1.7 trillion bill is stuffed with 7,510 earmarks costing taxpayers $16 billion for pet projects. This pork was requested by lawmakers for projects in their districts or across the state.

Our former Honorary Chairman of OpenTheBooks, U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn said it best: “Earmarks are the gateway drug to runaway spending bills.”

Earmarks are the currency of corruption in Congress. It’s a legal bribe meant to twist arms and get members of Congress to vote for massive spending bills.

Local projects of merit should be funded locally and not through the federal government or congressional appropriation. 

So, it’s time to follow the money. Our auditors mapped the 7,510 earmarks in the legislation by state. Click here to see our OpenTheBooks interactive map: who requested how much money for what project in your state or locality.

The Lone Star State will receive $800 million from 249 earmarked projects. 

Who were the biggest champions of earmarks? The Texas Republicans out-earmarked their democrat colleagues: $500 million to $300 million. 

EXAMPLES: 5 multi-million-dollar earmarks for local projects

  • $4 million: Georgetown – FM971 road expansion, Carter (R)
  • $4 million: Shavano Park—streets project phase I, Gonzalez (R)
  • $4 million: Forest Theater Restoration and Expansion, Johnson (D)
  • $5 million: Middle Rio Grande Development Project – Regional Trunk Radio System Upgrade, Doggett (D)
  • $5 million: City of Austin – North Walnut Creek Trail section, Doggett (D)

CHART: Top 10 Texas members requesting earmarks FY2023 

Member of Congress/Party

 Total Amount of Earmarks

Weber (R)


Gonzales (R)


Carter (R)


Green (D)


Fletcher (D)


Cuellar (D)


Doggett (D)


Crenshaw (R)


Garcia (D)


Escobar (D)


U.S. House disclosures December 2022


Bringing back earmarks was the equivalent of bringing back the swine flu.

We have to hold the political class accountable for their tax-and-spend decisions, and it will take widespread action from taxpayers to put an end to the earmarks addiction once and for all. 

Too often, politicians only break bad habits when they are caught in the act and exposed.

Now, we can do it right from our computers.

It’s time to tell Congress: get back to normal budgeting, not temporary bills stuffed with special favors.  

Learn more at 

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