Democrats in Congress pledged to cut the pork out of appropriations bills, but the new majority is already cheating on the diet, reports the Washington Post. Using a technique called "phonemarking," congressmen are contacting federal agencies directly and asking them to fund their pet projects, all while boasting that their bills contain no earmarks. Changes in wording are used to disguise special-interest spendings;
For instance, a new House appropriations bill for the Iraq war contained no earmarks, but a clause that said all the projects included in the earlier, vetoed bill, were still included. "Absolutely nothing has changed," said an appropriations watchdog who worked for both parties. "While they are pretending to reform things, they are still groveling in the trough."