Jack Murtha (D-PA) and Earmarks

10 April 2008

I'm glad to see this issue getting some more play in the media. The excellent Taxpayers For Common Sense budget watchdog has a database of Congressional earmarks available here. The top earmarkers in the House of Representatives are currently [from the 2007 year] (1) Wicker (R-MS); (2) Murtha (D-PA); (3) Young (R-FL); (4) Hoyer (D-MD); and (5) Lewis (R-CA). We've got a genuinely bipartisan problem on our hands when lobbyist contributions get mixed up with earmarks. Now we've even got "soft" earmarks to worry about, with even less oversight. If you get a chance, check out the Change Congress project.

UPDATE: Sen. Clinton (D-NY) is one of the top ten earmarkers in the Senate (despite her relatively brief career), and has opposed measures to make the earmarking process more transparent. When you couple her defense of earmark secrecy with her defense of the role of lobbyist and PAC contributions, you get a picture of a candidate who will do nothing to address this very serious systematic problem. While Sen. McCain's (R-AZ) campaign is literally run by lobbyists, he at least promotes earmark reform.

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