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Vitter Still Loves Him Some Earmarks

But Vitter has never equated fiscal discipline with earmark restraint.

This spring, The Hill covered Vitter’s earmark addiction after the Senator railed against the size of the 2009 spending bill.

“I have strongly supported fundamental spending reform, including complete openness and transparency and significantly lower budget number,” Vitter told The Hill in a statement. “As I do that, though, I am proud to stand by my specific funding requests for critical transportation, law enforcement and hurricane recovery needs.”

In next year’s bill, Vitter and Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (who sought $3.8 million in earmarks herself) both requested multiple projects related to the Army Corps of Engineers and transportation infrastructure.

The Times-Picayune reminds us that nonpartisan watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense ranked Landrieu third and Vitter fifth among senators inserting earmarks in last year’s omnibus spending measure. In the 2009 bill, Louisiana received $233 million for 192 projects – eighth among all states in the amount of earmarked funds received.

This year, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees moved to increase earmark transparency by requiring members of Congress to post their earmark requests somewhere on their Websites and justify why taxpayer money should be spent on the projects, in theory to force members of Congress to think about how these requests appear to the public.

But it’s tough to shame somebody with Vitter’s background into caring about about how things appear to the public.

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