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Lining up at the trough - pork-barrel spending by Maine's delegation to DC

The Citizens Against Government Waste report on government pork-barrel spending for 2007 is out. The searchable 2008 Pig Book reveals that Maine received $29,521,533 in pork projects. The largest was a $9.7 million allocation for a "consolidated emergency control center" at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard — an amount backed by Republican US Senator Susan Collins. The smallest project was a $16,000 surveillance project by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the "Northern Boundary Waters" of Maine, money sought by no members of Maine's Congressional delegation.

Many of the projects were backed by more than one member of Maine's DC representatives, but we've listed here each member's total pork distributed nationwide (and the largest and smallest projects), plus each member's total pork brought home to Maine (and the largest and smallest projects here).

Among the observations we have so far are these:

Our delegation likes war. Three of the four of them backed a $10 million allocation into the XM312 heavy machine gun (described in Infantry Magazine in November 2007, and with more info from GlobalSecurity.org) - including Democratic 1st District US Representative Tom Allen, who is running on an anti-Iraq-war platform in his challenge to Republican US Senator Susan Collins, who partnered with him and fellow GOP senator Olympia Snowe to back the spending.

Only Democratic 2nd District US Representative Michael Michaud liked other things more - his largest pork project was a $4.8 million allocation to research ways to use wood and wood products. But he doesn't get off so easily, having joined with all the other three to support giving $4 million to the University of Maine to research ways to bullet-proof tents and other temporary shelters in combat zones.

All of them supported more, and bigger, pork-barrel projects outside the state than inside it. Democratic US Representative Tom Allen was the worst offender, with only 18.6 percent of his total pork actually coming to Maine. Next was Democratic US Representative Michael Michaud, who got 24.2 percent of his total pork back home. Then came Republican US Senator Olympia Snowe, with 25.1 percent of her bacon actually making it to Maine. Doing her best for Maine was Collins, with 31.2 percent of her total pork coming to Maine.

Even so, at least two-thirds, if not four-fifths, of pork-barrel projects supported by Maine representatives, went elsewhere. But what's the point of bringing home the bacon, if the bacon actually ends up somewhere else? If politicians are going to engage in pork-barrel politics (a decision we question), shouldn't they at least make sure their constituents are benefiting?

US Senator Susan Collins (R)

Nationwide pork total — $81,252,412

Largest project anywhere in the country — $10 million for Army research into the XM312, "the machine gun of the future"

Smallest projects anywhere in the country — see "Smallest Maine projects" below

Maine pork total — $25,340,553

Largest Maine project — $9,700,000 for a consolidated emergency control center at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

Smallest Maine projects — $97,000 for each of the following:

         -Fish River Rural Health, Eagle Lake, for construction, renovation, and equipment;

         -Maine Alliance for Arts Education, Augusta, for the Complete Education for Rural Students Project;

         -First Book, Washington, for the Maine Literacy Initiative for Low-Income Children;

         -Jeremiah Cromwell Disabilities Center, Portland, for awareness training for students;

         -Community Counseling Center, Portland, for the expansion of the Greater Portland Trauma Assistance Network;

         -Spurwink Services, New Gloucester, for child mental health service;

         -Waldo County Preschool & Family Services, Belfast, for the Maine Early Language and Literacy Initiative;

         -Maine Lighthouse Corporation, Bar Harbor, for the Therapeutic Community for the Substance Abuse Treatment Project

 

US Senator Olympia Snowe (R)

Nationwide pork total — $62,372,532

Largest project anywhere in the country — $10 million for Army research into the XM312, "the machine gun of the future"

Smallest projects anywhere in the country — see "Smallest Maine projects" below

Maine pork total — $15,640,553

Largest Maine project — $1,837,500 for Swan's Island Ferry Facilities

Smallest Maine projects — $97,000 for each of the following:

         -Fish River Rural Health, Eagle Lake, for construction, renovation, and equipment;

         -Maine Alliance for Arts Education, Augusta, for the Complete Education for Rural Students Project;

         -First Book, Washington, for the Maine Literacy Initiative for Low-Income Children;

         -Jeremiah Cromwell Disabilities Center, Portland, for awareness training for students;

         -Community Counseling Center, Portland, for the expansion of the Greater Portland Trauma Assistance Network;

         -Spurwink Services, New Gloucester, for child mental health service;

         -Waldo County Preschool & Family Services, Belfast, for the Maine Early Language and Literacy Initiative;

         -Maine Lighthouse Corporation, Bar Harbor, for the Therapeutic Community for the Substance Abuse Treatment Project

US Representative Tom Allen (D-1st District)

Nationwide pork total — $38,317,537

Largest project anywhere in the country — $10 million for Army research into the XM312, "the machine gun of the future"

Smallest project anywhere in the country — $73,000 for Cross City, Dixie County, Florida, for facilities and equipment for the primary care faciltiy

Maine pork total — $7,125,453

Largest Maine project — $1,600,000 for Army research into the Ripsaw Unmanned Ground Vehicle Weaponization

Smallest Maine project — $97,000 for Spurwink Services, New Gloucester, for child mental health service

US Representative Michael Michaud (D-2nd District)

Nationwide pork total — $17,652,948

Largest project anywhere in the country — $4,840,875 for research into Wood Utilization in Arkansas, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, and West Virginia

Smallest projects anywhere in the country — see "Smallest Maine projects" below

Maine pork total — $4,278,205

Largest Maine project (other than some portion of the nationwide Wood Utilization research money) — $885,600 for the Greenville Steam Efficiency Project (in addition to some portion of the nationwide Wood Utilization research money)

Smallest Maine projects — $97,000 for Fish River Rural Health, Eagle Lake, for construction, renovation, and equipment

 

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