Cutting federal spending may be a rhetorical cornerstone of the Tea Party and the congressional members of its official caucus, but a recent report finds that its delegates requested a large number of earmarks in the 111th Congress at a cost of more than $1 billion to taxpayers.
Hotline On Call's report on records from Citizens Against Government Waste found that the 52 members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus were responsible for 764 earmarks that racked up a tab of $1,049,783,150 in federal dollars. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) and 13 of her Tea Party Caucus-mates are notably absent from the list of requests.
The problem of earmark hypocrisy extends beyond the House, though, where members of the Senate approached a potential pork ban with equal fervor.
While some, such as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) continued to describe earmarks as a "gateway drug to spending addiction in Washington" in their crusade to cut the practice, other purported opponents, like Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) proved unable to kick the habit.
Just three days after GOP senators proposed a ban on federal carve-outs, an eventually unsuccessful endeavor, Kyl locked up a $200 million earmark "to settle an Arizona Indian tribe's water rights claim against the government."
While perhaps the most egregious example of immediate duplicity, six more senators who were in favor of the elimination of earmarks had been guilty of requesting millions of dollars in taxpayer money just months before. And that's not to mention Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who eventually threw his weight behind the ban, despite having steered nearly $1 billion in pork by himself alone.