Total number of earmarks requested last year: 39,294

The number only represents the amount requested by lawmakers – not the amount that actually makes it into legislation, which has hovered around $16 billion annually in recent years. Some lawmakers ask for money they know they won’t get – simply to respond to an individual constituency group or for political purposes. And the total dollar amount also may be inflated because the database separately counts instances where House members and senators may have been seeking money for the same project.

But the database is novel because it lays out in stark detail the deep-seated interest that lawmakers have to seek funding for parochial projects back home. While in recent years lawmakers have posted their earmark requests online, there never before has been a searchable database compiling all the requests, and a legislative push by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to mandate a congressional earmark database has stalled in the Senate…

The database also shows Inouye sought 195 earmarks worth $815 million, while the top Republican on the committee, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, requested 712 earmarks worth $2.5 billion.