Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, has named Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha as its "Porker of the Year," signifying the member of Congress who has wasted the most taxpayer dollars in 2007.
Rep. John "Jack" Murtha, a Democrat, won the dubious honor by a landslide, receiving 63.4 percent of the vote, according to Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) received 10.6 percent, while Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) came in with 9.9 percent, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) had 6.7 percent, and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) both finished up with 4.1 percent.
The finalists were chosen by CAGW staff from among the 12 Porker of the Month winners for 2007.
"Rep. Murtha has long been known inside the Beltway for using threats, power plays, and backroom deals to control spending decisions. There is an area of the House floor known as 'Murtha's Corner,' where the legendary appropriator dispenses earmarks," according to a CAGW press release. "The overwhelming vote for Porker of the Year vote shows that his shameful behavior is attracting attention throughout the country. The congressman inserts pork whenever he can to serve himself and his district. In fiscal year 2008, he brought home 72 pork projects worth $149.2 million."
Rep. Murtha also purposefully put up roadblocks and barriers to hinder earmark accountability and reform, Citizens Against Government Waste says.
From its press release: According to an October 2007 issue of Congressional Quarterly Weekly, Rep. Murtha's response to a reporter's inquiry regarding the difficulty of matching up earmark information in appropriations bills was: "So, you have to work. Tough [expletive]." The House Appropriation Committee included earmarks in its reports but they were unsearchable and the lists were difficult to read.
"For flouting the rules and playing games with reform, while filling spending bills with pork and arrogantly threatening anyone that challenges his authority, Rep. Jack Murtha is the 2007 Porker of the Year," the release concludes.
More information on the winner and finalists can be found on CAGW's blog, swineline.org/porkeroftheyear
William T. Russell is challenging Murtha in the Novemeber election, but voters in Murtha's Western Pennsylvania district inexplicably keep sending the "Porker of the Year" back to Congress.