Pulling Pork 

Rep. Rehberg and fellow Republicans aim to rein in earmarks. Can—and should—they do it?

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Data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics and Taxpayers for Common Sense, as well as information provided by Montana's delegates, allows for a closer look at specific funding requests from fiscal year 2008 through 2010. The examples below focus specifically on self-sponsored earmarks secured by Rehberg, Baucus and Tester.

Rep. Denny Rehberg

Earmark requests: 172

Amount requested: $199,815,830

Rank for 2010: Eighth out of 435 representatives


Recipient: Montana World Trade Center, University of Montana

Amount: $583,000

Why: Tabbed by TIME magazine as the eighth "most outrageous" earmark of 2008, Rehberg's appropriation boosts the Montana World Trade Center's efforts to increase international trade through public-private partnerships, business networking and student education.

In his own words: "The Montana World Trade Center has been a valuable resource for local businesses trying to sell their goods internationally. These funds will help ensure the Trade Center can continue to hold trade missions as well as allow them to create new programs to expand their ability to assist Montana businesses."

Recipient: Northern Rockies Educational Service, Missoula

Amount: $300,000

Why: Aimed at improving technology integration in K-12 classrooms in Montana.

In his own words: "Better technology in our schools means a better education for our kids. I'm working to ensure Montana's students have the same access to modern technology as kids who live in urban states like California."

Recipient: Yellowstone County

Amount: $147,000

Why: Assists Yellowstone County in acquiring 27 mobile video digital cameras to augment current systems and replace VHS formatted video systems.

In his own words: "Whether it's the cop on the beat or the ability to gather necessary forensic evidence in cases of sexual assault, these federal dollars will help keep criminals off of the streets and out of our neighborhoods."

Sen. Max Baucus

Earmark requests: 266

Amount: $430,466,170

Rank for 2010: 40th out of 100 senators


Recipient: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Amount: $730,500

Why: Assists the state's effort to establish a "Two Rivers State Park" at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot rivers.

In his own words: "As Montanans, we know places like Two Rivers State Park are important to keeping our communities healthy and vibrant—because our outdoor heritage is part of who we are. This project is important for Missoula because it will turn the Milltown Site—which has seen decades of wear and tear—into a community asset."

Recipient: The Libby School District

Amount: $381,000

Why: Contributes to a new elementary school after asbestos was found in the walls of Asa Wood Elementary.

In his own words: "This is about making sure our kids are safe in their schools, and about making sure the folks in Libby get the medical care they need and deserve."

Recipient: LigoCyte, Bozeman

Amount: $3,600,000

Why: Help develop a vaccine against the stomach flu virus for the military.

In his own words: "In addition to an investment in LigoCyte, this is an investment in our state's economy and a validation of the high quality of work being performed here."

Sen. Jon Tester

Earmark requests: 242

Amount: $409,840,030

Rank for 2010: 38th out of 100 senators


Recipient: Sanders County Coalition for Families, Thompson Falls

Amount: $400,000

Why: Provides assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, teen dating violence, child abuse and other problems by establishing a new Women's Resource Center in Thompson Falls.

In his own words: "This is [part of] a multi-million dollar investment in the folks who protect and serve us day in and day out, which is why I'll support these projects every step of the way."

Recipient: Montana National Guard, Helena

Amount: $1,000,000

Why: Ensures continued activities of the Montana National Guard in the state's counter-drug task force. Current activities include both youth education and providing aerial and intelligence support to state and local law enforcement agencies.

In his own words: "Putting resources into reducing the flow of drugs into Montana is a good investment of federal resources. The Counter-Drug Joint Task Force is a good example of folks working together to keep illegal drugs off our streets and away from our kids and neighbors."

Recipient: Bridger Photonics, Bozeman

Amount: $800,000.

Why: Helps to develop a prototype device that will provide helicopter pilots with accurate real-time displays of landing zones obscured by sand storms or fog.

In his own words: "This was a cutting-edge investment in our troops and our national defense that is creating Montana jobs now, and it will pay off in the years ahead by making our military stronger and more effective."

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