Rep. Bishop: “I Proposed Earmarks for Constituents”

After a campaign where voters rallied against Washington politics and wasteful spending, members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus are in the spotlight for the number of earmarks requested during Fiscal Year 2010.

The National Journal, reviewing data from the non-partisan Citizens Against Government Waste, reported that 52 members of the caucus requested a total of 764 earmarks. The combined cost of the earmarks was more than $1 billion dollars.

For her part, the founder of the Tea Party caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., made no earmark requests during that time period.

Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, requested 47 earmarks that totaled nearly $94 million. Bishop's total was the second-highest amount, right behind Congressman Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., who requested more than $100 million worth of earmarks. Both Bishop and Rehberg are members of Congressional Tea Party Caucus.

During a Saturday interview with Fox News, Bishop defended the earmarks he requested.

"I proposed earmarks for constituents," said Bishop. "Almost all of mine were military which have to be approved in advance."

Bishop added that although he proposed earmarks, the practice isn't perfect.

"There has been abuse of the process," said Bishop. "We need to cut the slate clean. Start over again."

The House Republican Conference voted for a moratorium on earmarks across the board. The idea was also part of the GOP Pledge to America.

Bishop says last election should serve as a wake-up call for Members of Congress.

"The idea to change the way we do things in Washington is what people wanted in the last election, and we're bound and determined to change the way we do things in the future."