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Democrats Announce Corporate Earmarking Ban

March 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The long-standing congressional tradition of directing federal money to corporations in your state or district, often in exchange for campaign contributions, may be coming to an end. Well, at least in appropriations bills. Reuters reports:

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives will no longer be able to direct funds toward for-profit companies through the earmarking process, the House Appropriations Committee said on Wednesday.

The committee said it also would set up a special process to allow businesses to pitch their ideas directly to the Defense Department, which accounts for a large share of federal spending.

The ban won’t apply to universities and non-profit institutions. It also won’t apply to items in bills that aren’t technically appropriations earmarks, but function in much of the same way. For example, the narrowly-targeted items that were included in the Wall St. bailout bill, like the repeal of a tax on wooden arrows, or the porky items from the stimulus bill, woudn’t be banned. And unlike the earmarks in appropriations bills, which are subject to strict disclosure rules, it’s almost impossible to figure out who sponsored or is benefiting from the earmark-like items in non-appropriations bills.

Image used under CC license from johnmuk.

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