New documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show that Montana’s Democratic Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus requested agency funding for 14 pet projects, just days after Congress passed an “earmark-free” spending bill earlier this year. Not to be outdone, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) asked for millions of dollars for a list of 17 projects.

But Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) beat them both with the sheer amount of money he requested. In a Feb. 20 letter to HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, Byrd wrote to “strongly urge” funding for seven West Virginia earmarks totaling $24 million. The list included $2.7 million for a bioengineering institute at the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center and $8 million for a variety of facilities as part of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.

The HHS documents (which include funding requests from other lawmakers as well) were the latest responses to CIR’s many FOIA requests. We’ll continue to update the earmark resource page as documents roll in.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Will Evans was a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee.