WASHINGTON — Are Oklahomans getting their fair share of pork? Apparently not, according to the latest Pig Book, released Tuesday by Citizens Against Government Waste, which monitors so-called pork barrel spending in Congress. The group reported that Oklahoma fell to 44th in pork per person, after lawmakers from the state secured $68 million in earmarked special projects in the current fiscal year. Last year, the state ranked 34th. Included in the group’s Pig Book were Oklahoma earmarks for universities, small defense contractors, cities and towns, hospitals and state agencies. Oklahoma has five members of the U.S. House, all of whom secured projects for their districts. However, of the two senators, only Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, requests projects. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, is a critic of earmarks. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, the national average for spending on special projects this year is $29.60 per person. Oklahomans will receive $18.84 each in pork spending. This year’s bills contained 10,160 earmarks worth $19.6 billion, the group reported. Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, said, "The current Democratic congressional majority is following the same trajectory as their Republican predecessors. They came into power promising to cut earmarks, and made a big show of it during their first two years. However, as the 2009 Pig Book amply illustrates, pork-barrel spending is growing fast.” The total of projects this year is almost $10 billion below the peak in 2006, when Republicans were in control of Congress, according to the group. Many lawmakers defend their role in securing projects, saying they know more than government bureaucrats about their districts’ needs.
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