Lawmakers Use Earmarks to Aid Own Properties
Just a coincidence that pork benefits own real estate, they say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2012 5:55 AM CST
The Washington Post investigation compared financial disclosure forms to public records.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Members of Congress are not only steering earmarks to their own districts, but also their own backyards, funding projects that boost the value of properties they own, a Washington Post investigation finds. Comparing disclosure forms against public records revealed that over the last few years, some 33 members of Congress have directed more than $300 million to projects within two miles of, and sometimes right next to, their own property. Another 16 sent earmarks to companies or projects where their family members are employed.

The lawmakers involved say it's only a coincidence that the earmarks they sought happened to be near their own commercial or residential real estate. The congressional financial disclosure system, however, does not require lawmakers to disclose their home addresses or those of other properties they own, making it difficult to track how closely a lawmaker's financial interests are aligned with their earmarks. Implicated lawmakers include Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and Republicans Darrell Issa and Lisa Murkowski. Click for the Post's breakdown of congressmembers involved. (Earmarks are a hot topic this week: Watchdogs tell the New York Times that Congress is dodging the earmark ban; click to read about their proof.)