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The Brookings Cafeteria

Mar 14, 2014

Pork barrel spending has traditionally been understood as the exclusive domain of Congress. Yet recent presidents are highly engaged in the practice, too, as John Hudak demonstrates in his illuminating new book, Presidential Pork: White House Influence over the Distribution of Federal Grants (Brookings, 2014). In this podcast, Hudak, a fellow in Governance Studies, explains how presidents dole out over $100 billion per year in discretionary federal grants through scores of federal agencies, often in service of improving his electoral prospects. In one example, Hudak examined why the National Park Service delivered more grants to Pennsylvania than to California, even though the former has fewer residents and fewer federally protected sites. One explanation he offers is that, during the course of his study, Pennsylvania has been a swing state while California has not.

Show Notes:

• Presidential Pork: White House Influence over the Distribution of Federal Grants
• Pork Barrel Politics is Kosher for Presidents too - Except Obama
• Live from CPAC: The Most Important Panel Everyone Missed 
• FixGov blog