By Erik Wasson - 01/23/12 04:34 PM EST
This inclusion of McCaskill, who is in a tough reelection fight, is noteworthy because she has been a top crusader against earmarks. The group put her on the list for advocating that the troubled postal service start a marketing campaign to promote letter writing, an idea the group deems a waste of money.
Citizens Against Government Waste has praised the senator in the past, including for authoring a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would permanently ban earmarks. It has also listed her as never requesting a traditional earmark.
McCaskill's office questioned the group's motives for putting the senator on the list.
“Sniff. Sniff. Smells like election year politics. Claire’s record, which they’ve praised, speaks for itself," spokesman Trevor Kincaid said.
Tom Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste, told The Hill his group was not playing politics against McCaskill but rather pointing out that waste goes on even if there is an earmark moratorium. "We have not gotten involved in that race," he said.
He said McCaskill's nomination does mean that the group is barred from endorsing her, but that also applies to Republicans such as Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who was also once named a "porker."
Reid made the list for arguing against cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities because a cowboy poetry festival would be affected.
McKeon was included for setting up a Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund (MFET) in the Defense Authorization bill. The group argues that the fund has disguised earmarks, costing taxpayers $651.7 million.
Armed Services Committee spokesman Claude Chafin said that the Defense bill fully complied with House earmark rules.
“It is disappointing that they failed to mention that whatever the merits of the policy provisions in the MFET fund, they were not carried to Conference and did not make it into the final bill,” he added.
Chu is on the list for the weak oversight that led to solar panel manufacturer Solyndra receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees before filing for bankruptcy.
Finally, Jarvis is singled out for “coddling” Occupy Wall Street protestors and allowing them to damage property while the park service faces $10 million in unmet maintenance needs.
The public has been invited to vote on the nominees and a winner will be announced next month.