Pork-barrel politics is the legislator’s practice of slipping funding for a local project into a budget. The project may have nothing to do with the bill and may benefit only the legislator’s home district. Before a bill gets to a vote, pork-barreling has often greatly inflated its costs through the addition of various legislators’ pet projects.
In modern politics, pork-barreling and earmarking have become virtually synonymous. To be fair, one politician’s pork-barrel politics is another’s constituent service.