by JULIAN BARON | The National Desk
WASHINGTON (TND) — Members of Congress used "earmarks" to allocate more than $16 billion worth of federal funds for projects in their home districts this fiscal year, according to a new report.
Earmarking is a controversial practice that uses annual appropriations bills to bypass typical checks and balances for federal spending. Earmarks were banned for a decade before being reinstated in 2021, much to the dismay of federal taxpayer watchdogs and transparency advocates.
A new report by OpenTheBooks found congressional Democrats earmarked $9.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, compared to $6.4 billion by their Republican colleagues. OpenTheBooks CEO Adam Andrzejewski told The National Desk (TND) earlier this year that earmarks are the "currency of corruption," claiming that "both parties are fleecing the American people."
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, notably earmarked nearly $4 million for a library in Patten, Maine despite the small town's previous library closing due to lack of use, OpenTheBooks reports.
Meanwhile, retiring Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., used earmarks to push a total of $91 million to the University of Missouri and Missouri State University for the benefit of two buildings named after him — Roy Blunt Hall and the Roy Blunt Next Gen Precision Health Building, according to the OpenTheBooks report.
OpenTheBooks points out that U.S. senators earmarked roughly $10 million this fiscal year for various colleges, universities and other institutions to house their archives.