Reading Time: 2 minutes

A recent study by, published on Thursday, shed light on the conservative House Freedom Caucus’s sponsorship of over $900 million worth of earmarks in the past two years. The analysis, based on data from lawmakers aligned with or publicly identified as members of the caucus, underscores a significant allocation of federal funds by conservative legislators.

The earmarks tallied from 2023, involving eight Freedom Caucus members, amounted to $447.8 million, averaging $56 million per member. In 2024, 22 members contributed to a total of $508 million in earmarks, averaging $23.1 million per member. The cumulative figure over the two years surpassed $957 million, showcasing substantial financial influence wielded by the caucus.

While Rep. Matt Gaetz’s $50 million in earmarks were excluded from the total due to his disavowal of Freedom Caucus membership, the remaining allocations exceed those of progressive legislators, including members of the so-called Squad, who sponsored $220 million in earmarks during the same period.

Earmarks, termed Community Project Funding in the House and Congressionally Directed Spending Requests in the Senate, have resurfaced after a temporary ban starting in 2011. Both Republicans and Democrats reinstated earmarks in 2021, facilitating the allocation of federal funds to specific projects championed by lawmakers.

Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of, decried the bipartisan misuse of earmarks as a form of “currency of corruption” in Congress. He highlighted the discrepancy in spending priorities between parties but underscored their shared propensity for excessive expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

The study’s findings have drawn criticism from within the conservative camp, with Rep. Randy Weber of Texas, formerly associated with the Freedom Caucus, emerging as the top earmark sponsor with $431.9 million since 2023. Rep. Weber’s removal from the caucus, attributed to absenteeism at group meetings, underscores internal tensions within the conservative faction.

Despite reservations among some Republicans, including Rep. Bob Good, the current Freedom Caucus chairman, regarding the wastefulness of earmarks, others, like Rep. Burgess Owens of Utah, defend their use as a means of addressing constituents’ needs and directing federal resources toward vital projects. The debate surrounding earmarks reflects broader ideological divisions within the GOP regarding fiscal conservatism and government spending priorities.