Two Minn. projects make 2009 Pig Book for bad pork


Citizens Against Government Waste puts out an annual "Pig Book" which lists the most egregious porkers in the U.S. House and Senate. This list includes elected officials who use the earmark process to funnel money back for projects in their home state.

Leave it to Minnesotans to bring back cash for wild rice and theater. Classy. At least none of our delegation made the list as being particularly bad and our state fares pretty well compared to others in earmark cash per capita.

Congress put 10,160 projects into the 12 appropriations bills worth $19.6 billion in fiscal year 2009, the group says. That's a 14 percent increase over 2008.

Two Minnesota projects made the list of most blatant examples of pork:

$303,000 by then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for wild rice in St. Paul. Five projects worth $815,725 have been earmarked for Minnesota's state grain since 1999.

$240,000 by then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) for the Shubert Performing Arts Center in Minneapolis. The Shubert (tagline: "Because Everybody Dances") promises to "elevate and showcase" Minneapolis's dance community and give "them a permanent and affordable home where audiences experience the best of this dynamic art form for years to come."

Minnesota ranked 39th in the United States for most pork money per capita. The Minnesota delegation requested $104,168,643, which comes to $19.95 per Minnesotan. In 2008, we ranked 26th.