Earmarks: The Saga Continues


$2 million, Transmission Dynamometer.
$6 million, Battlefield Anti-Intrusion System
$9.5 million, Multi-Band, Multi-Mission Radio
$50 million, Aerial Reconnaissance Multi-Sensor
$523 million, F-22A Raptor
Etc., etc.

Guess what these are? That's right, smarty, earmarks.

They're among 974 included in the House and Senate defense authorization bills. Here's a story about them in the Washington Post.

In case you missed the seminar (ok, and earlier Government Inc. posts), earmarks are a variety of Congressional pork in which lawmakers direct funding to companies, universities and other organizations in their home districts (oftentimes in the hope the public largess will result in more support from voters and contributions from happy recipients and their lobbyists).

Early last year, in a bout of remorse and political sensitivity, Congress promised to curb its use of earmarks, which are often slipped into budget plans without debate or oversight. They also mandated disclosure of the earmarks, perhaps thinking lawmakers would be embarassed if their funding requests were made public.

But the remorse didn't last very long -- and the embarassment never seemed to materialize.

At least there's a tally now to examine, at least if the earmarks hold through the entire appropriations process. (This is one important step before the appropriations legislation).

New data compiled by the folks at Taxpayers For Common Sense show that earmark spending the in the defense authorization legislation approved by the House soared by 29 percent to $9.9 billion. The number of earmarks increased on the Senate side, even though the value dropped slightly to $5.4 billion.

Anyway, you'll find their spreadsheet here in the link called "new analysis." Please feel free to go on a data-romp -- let's call it mucking around -- and see where all that money is set to go for yourself.

As usual, Government Inc. would love to hear about any interesting finds.

P.S. Here's what President Bush had to say about earmarks, brought to you in living technicolor.


By Robert O'Harrow |  June 12, 2008; 11:00 PM ET
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Comments

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.
Spreadsheet:
I could only see Rogers' earmarks.

where are the rest ?
.

Posted by: Barron X | June 13, 2008 1:24 AM

Almost all of the money in the budget would still be there even without any earmarks.

The difference is greedy politicians seeking campaign contribution payback are short circuiting the experts at the bureaucratic level who would be making these decisions within individual government agencies.

Of course, they get plenty of push back from the White House seeking to mollify their supporters. Unless the character of our leaders changes our system will not.

Posted by: faithfulservant3 | June 13, 2008 8:27 AM

Almost all of the money in the budget would still be there even without any earmarks.

The difference is greedy politicians seeking campaign contribution payback are short circuiting the experts at the bureaucratic level who would be making these decisions within individual government agencies.

Of course, they get plenty of push back from the White House seeking to mollify their supporters. Unless the character of our leaders changes our system will not.

Posted by: faithfulservant3 | June 13, 2008 8:33 AM

None of the programs mentioned by this article appear, from their description, to be wasteful pork or to be blatant corruption; rather they all related to defense, which is completely appropriate for a defense authorization bill.

Earmarks are not inherently wasteful or corrupt; they are just a mechanism for creating spending bills. As long as they identify the sponsor so that those guilty of wasteful spending can be held responsible, there's nothing wrong with them.

What this is is an example of the laziness and incompetence of the media. Do you job and stop trying to make stories where there are none.

Posted by: Jonathan | June 13, 2008 10:46 AM

One thing about ear marks we spend the money in the United States where it creates jobs and the money go into a local economy. Unlike the money spent in Iraq which is going in a black hole that we can not even account for. The moneys we can account for are going to Haliburton, Blackwater,Dyno Corp, KBR and most of these companies do not even pay taxes on money earned because they all have holding companies outside the United States.

Posted by: Oldbuck | June 16, 2008 8:49 AM

The United States was once a nation of laws, ethics, integrity, and common sense. We now have the most corrupt nation in the West at the local state and national level. Unitl we pass a law that states very clearly one person one vote and a $100.00 financial political contributuion you will have a bought and paid for government at all levels.

No one will stand up and put an end to it. Politicans at any level will not vote in laws that separates them from the money that puts them in office. An example I know of is a the mayor of a Georgia town of less than 50,000 people who has a LPN employed spouse. He lives on a $17,000 a year salary plus an LPN's salary and lives in a 3,000 pluse square foot home and owns two very expensice Mrecedes Benz automobiles. Has the best dressed children in the local school system. The day you can do that on $17,000 plus an LPN's hourly paychceck you should write a book on just how you did it. The book would be a best seller.

You have to ask yourself why Hillary Clinton would personally indebt herself for twenty million dollars for a $400,000 a year job. If you have any common sense you will not have to think for more than three minutes to answer the question.

You currently have the most corrupt and the best government money can buy at any level.

Posted by: Ralph Dreifus | June 16, 2008 10:29 AM

I would like to see the names of the legislatorswho are responsible for the earmarks posted on this site. How can we protest without that info? Thanks.

Posted by: Margaret Patterson | June 25, 2008 11:20 AM

This practice that only pays for votes, has progressed beyond control. Someone or something has to stop it or America will finally fall to those corrupt policy makers.

Posted by: Arnie Chihak | June 26, 2008 9:02 AM

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