An earmark watchdog says Rep. G.K. Butterfield's requests may be overstated.
Steve Ellis, vice president of the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense, said that his group generally defines earmarks as budget appropriations that would benefit a business, nonprofit, local government or university a member of Congress represents.
It does not include broader program requests that benefit multiple groups.
"Asking for a billion dollars in Justice Department grants is not an earmark," he explained. "Asking for $15,000 to buy Mag-Lites for your local police department is."
Still, he said many members of Congress included those requests in the earmarks lists they posted on their Web site over the weekend.
That would appear to include Butterfield, who asked for $1.9 billion in Virginia-class submarines, $807 million in aircraft carriers and $127 million in carrier refueling overhauls, among other large military spending requests.