http://news.ft.com/cms/s/7118a80c-a6c7-11d9-a6df-00000e2511c8.html Oinkers reward US politicians who thrive on pork By Andrew Ward in Washington Three hundred thousand dollars to improve public transport at Disneyland in California; $25,000 to fund the study of Mexican mariachi music in Nevada schools; $70,000 for the Paper Industry Hall of Fame in Wisconsin; and $100,000 to a charitable foundation run by Tiger Woods, the multi-millionaire golfer. These were among the winners in the 2005 Oinkers, an annual award ceremony in Washington to recognise the most egregious examples of pork barrel spending by vote-hungry US politicians. Pork barrel spending public funds secured by politicians to promote special interests, usually in their own constituencies increased 19 per cent to a record $27.3bn last year, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, which organises the Oinkers. With the nation at war and a record deficit you would think that our members of Congress would restrain themselves, said Tom Schatz, president of CAGW. Instead, they have continued to shamelessly issue their pork. The Oinkers were awarded as Congress begins to negotiate the 2006 federal budget, against the backdrop of a $427bn deficit that President George W. Bush has promised to halve by the time he leaves office. Jeff Flake, a Republican congressman from Arizona and campaigner against wasteful spending, said his party had betrayed its commitment to small government and fiscal responsibility since it took control of the House and Senate three years ago. Republicans for years ridiculed Democrats for their pork, and right so, he said. But we have come into power and made it worse. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican, won the Hogzilla Award as the senator who took back the most amount of pork to his state, with a total of $646m, or $984 for every Alaskan. Most Alaskans would rather have had the cheque, said Mr Schatz. A spokeswoman for Mr Stevens said all the spending was worthwhile. Texas received the least amount of pork at $2.90 per person, compared with a national average of $33. Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, who helped announce the Oinkers accompanied by two live pigs, highlighted $469,000 spent promoting wild turkey hunting as a traditional North American sport. Some of the worst abuses involved homeland security, with politicians exploiting heavy spending on anti-terrorism measures to fund local projects that often did little to make the country safer, according to Mr Schatz. Mr Flake has proposed legislation to make it more difficult for lawmakers to attach pork barrel projects to appropriations bills.