Roughly $2.75 billion of the extra funds -- all of which were unanimously approved in an 18-minute markup Monday by the House Appropriations Committee -- would finance "earmarks," or projects demanded by individual lawmakers that the Pentagon did not request.7nbsp; About half of that amount reflects spending requested by private firms, including 95 companies or related political action committees that donated a total of $789,190 in the past 2 1/2 years to members of the appropriations subcommittee on defense, according to an analysis by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit watchdog group.This is the United States. Citizens are allowed to petition Congress. It is in the First Amendment. And, if Joe Dokes, down the street, can call up Reg Niki Tsongas and give her (or, more likely, her staff) a piece of his mind, then so can Raytheon Corporation. And, sometimes those individual citizens band together.
He [Rep Jeff Flake, R-AZ] noted that at least 70 of the earmarks are for former clients of the PMA Group, a lobbying firm close to appropriations subcommittee head John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) that is now being probed by the Justice Department and the House ethics committee.The real way to clean this up is to vote out some of those who are bringing home the beacon. Does anyone see that happening? In my humble opinion, only when those Reps become a total embarrassment.
Regards — Cliff