Membership Has its Privileges

Especially when you’ve been around for a while. Earlier, I pointed out that the per capita earmark is only slightly higher for Red states than Blue states. At the time, I speculated that the Republican districts within states were getting the majority of the pork. For example, perhaps Sugarland (Tom DeLay) gets a lot while San Antonio (Leticia Van de Putte’s area) gets little.

Astute commenter and blogger Ben Muse did a bit more investigating and found a very plausible explanation:

I’ve ranked the states by earmark per capita and indicated whether or not the state had a senator on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Of the top 25 ranked states, 20 had someone on the committee; of the lower 25 states, only nine had someone on the committee. Of the top five ranked states, three had Democratic (minority) members on the committee. [Supporting data here.]

This is a great example of why, even though nearly everyone dislikes their incumbent senator, it may still be better for the voters to keep him or her around.