House Democrats Ban Corporate Earmarks
Parties race to end increasingly unpopular practice
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2010 6:22 AM CST
Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., left, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007. Obey imposed the restrictions on earmarks.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

(Newser) – The House erupted in ethical one-upsmanship yesterday as Democrats and Republicans raced to end budget earmarks: House Dems banned earmarks to private industry, and Republicans quickly responded with a call to stop all earmarks, not just those to for-profit companies. The new ban ends a fast-growing practice that has poured billions into no-bid contracts and sparked recent charges of abuse and corruption.

The parties' competition to end earmarks comes amid growing anger over lawmakers' use of them to reward campaign donors with government contracts and to finance pet projects. A recent Congressional report found a "widespread perception" among companies getting earmarks that political donations they'd made to lawmakers were to thank for the contracts, the New York Times reports.