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Politicians Privately Yearn for Smoke-Filled Backroom

Gov. Hickenlooper says transparency causes gridlock

(Newser) - How to unblock the least productive Congress in US history? Here's a counterintuitive notion: Reinstate pork-barrel spending and the smoke-filled backroom, where lawmakers can make legislative deals in private, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper tells Time . Surprisingly, other politicians agree—some off the record—that modern attempts at transparency and...

Senators' Personal Wants Buried in Immigration Bill

Graham adds meat industry visas; Colo. senator helps ski resorts

(Newser) - The Senate's immigration reform bill could make sweeping changes for some 11 million undocumented workers, but not all its measures are so expansive. In fact, a number of senators have inserted legislation that offers a special boost to their home states, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lindsey Graham of...

Lawmakers Shuffled Millions to Relatives' Causes
Lawmakers Shuffled Millions to Relatives' Causes

Lawmakers Shuffled Millions to Relatives' Causes

'Washington Post' finds 16 members of Congress engaging in practice

(Newser) - A Washington Post investigation finds that 16 members of Congress have sent tax dollars, sometimes in the millions, to companies or other organizations with links to their family trees. Through direct funding or earmarking, these lawmakers have boosted the budgets of Pentagon programs, environmental groups, schools, and other places where...

Lawmakers Use Earmarks to Aid Own Properties
Lawmakers Use Earmarks to Aid Own Properties

Lawmakers Use Earmarks to Aid Own Properties

Just a coincidence that pork benefits own real estate, they say

(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...

Congress Dodging Earmark Ban: Watchdogs

Lawmakers attach special funds to budgets to direct cash homeward

(Newser) - Congress' ban on earmarks doesn't seem to be stopping members from channeling money to home-state projects. These days, instead of tacking such projects on to bills, legislators are creating "slush funds" that ultimately serve the same purpose, watchdog groups tell the New York Times . Included in the Army...

Rick Santorum Earmarks: Former Senator Was Prolific at Securing Earmarks, Campaign Cash Followed
Rick Brought Home $1B
in Pork—and Big Donations

Rick Brought Home $1B in Pork—and Big Donations

Former senator was a 'vigorous practitioner' of securing earmarks

(Newser) - In Rick Santorum's days in the Senate, lawmakers didn't have to disclose their earmarks—but a New York Times analysis shows that Santorum had a lot of them, and that they were often followed by large campaign contributions from the companies they benefited. In one defense bill, for...

Lawmakers Ignore Earmark Ban
 Lawmakers Ignore Earmark Ban 

Lawmakers Ignore Earmark Ban

So two lawmakers are out to ban them by law

(Newser) - Remember that informal ban on earmarks lawmakers agreed to last year to great fanfare? Well, they’ve been doing their best to ignore it, the Washington Post reports. Lawmakers have tried to slap hundreds of earmarks on at least 10 bills this summer and fall. While some have insisted their...

Reid: Earmarks Will Be Back
 Reid: Earmarks Will Be Back 

Reid: Earmarks Will Be Back

Obama 'applause lines' not really solving anything

(Newser) - "They'll be back." No, not Terminator robots from the future, but something that some may consider nearly as deadly—earmarks. Harry Reid says President Obama is wrong to try to end the practice that allows members of Congress to insert benefits for their home states into bills. "...

Syrup Research No Joke: Industry to McCain

Sen. targets maple topping in anti-pork campaign

(Newser) - The omnibus spending bill may have failed , but one sticky situation persists: In compiling his list of the bill's 10 most egregious wastes of money, John McCain ridiculed a $165,000 earmark for maple syrup research as an example of absurd pork—but the maple industry says it’s anything...

Earmarks' Last Hurrah: Bill Stuffed With $8B

John McCain, others speak out against spending bill

(Newser) - Well, don’t say goodbye to earmarks just yet: A $1.2 trillion spending bill released yesterday has more than 6,000 earmarks—adding up to $8 billion. "The American people said just 42 days ago, 'Enough!' … Are we tone deaf? Are we stricken with amnesia?" asked...

Uh, Oh: GOP Wakes to World Without Earmarks

Conservatives scramble to get cash for legit transportation projects

(Newser) - Killing earmarks in an era of big government and bigger deficits sure sounded like great conservative politics at the party last night, but none other than the House GOP is waking up with a hangover, wondering "What were we thinking?" As Politico reports, it turns out that ix-naying porky...

Leave Earmarks Alone
 Leave Earmarks Alone 

Leave Earmarks Alone

They aren't hurting anything

(Newser) - Mitch McConnell has passed out lots of earmarks in his time, but yesterday he supported a ban on the practice, because Americans "view it as a symbol of the waste.” Translation? “Earmarks are a good idea, but most people don’t get it, so I’ll oppose...

Sen. Inhofe Takes a Stand for Earmarks

...putting him at odds with fellow Oklahoma GOPer Tom Coburn

(Newser) - Not all Republicans are in a hurry to ban earmarks . Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe is taking a stand in favor of the perennial political punching bag, and it’s put him in direct conflict with his state’s other Republican senator, Tom Coburn, Politico reports. Inhofe recently derided an unnamed...

GOP, Obama Spar Over Earmarks

President wants reform; Boehner and Cantor want 2-year ban

(Newser) - President Obama is urging Congress to crack down on earmarks in his weekly radio address today, even as John Boehner and Eric Cantor saw his crackdown and raised him an outright ban in what Politico calls a race for fiscal purity. Obama said some earmarks "support worthy projects in...

Cantor: Obama, Pelosi Just Don't Get It
 Pelosi Just 
 Don't Get It 


Cantor: Obama, Pelosi Just Don't Get It

Lots of other sparring, slicing, and dicing on your Sunday show roundup

(Newser) - Apparently President Obama and Nancy Pelosi aren't listening to the message Democrats were given Tuesday, complains Eric Cantor. "When you hear the president say things like 'we did a poor job of explaining what we were trying to do,' that is indicative of his not getting it,"...

Alaska: Ready to Stop Biting the Hand That Feeds It?
Alaska: Ready to Stop Biting the Hand That Feeds It?

Alaska: Ready to Stop Biting the Hand That Feeds It?

Senate race shows clear split on DC-dependence

(Newser) - It must be the air up there, but Alaska has a seeming case of schizophrenia, writes Gail Collins in the New York Times. The state, and especially its politicians, champion its independent, frontier spirit even as it simultaneously and relentlessly shakes Washington down for cash—to the tune of the...

Senators Fight to Keep Sending Pork Home

Upper chamber unlikely to follow House's lead on earmarks

(Newser) - House members may be pushing earmark reform, but many of their Senate colleagues refuse to let go without a fight—in fact, Politico notes, it may be the one issue on which senators from both parties can agree on. Lawmakers from both sides argue that the money would be spent...

House Democrats Ban Corporate Earmarks

Parties race to end increasingly unpopular practice

(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...

Shelby Drops Holds on Obama Nominees

Alabama Republican says he was just trying to get the president's attention

(Newser) - Richard Shelby has decided to release the holds he's been using to block more than 70 Obama nominees in hopes of scoring two lucrative projects for his home state. The Alabama senator, who was hammered by Democrats for obstructionism, said he used the holds "to get the White House's...

GOP Sen. Shelby Blocks 70 Obama Nominations

Extraordinary 'blanket hold' over earmarks for Alabama

(Newser) - Richard Shelby, the GOP senator from Alabama, is holding all of President Obama's pending nominations—at least 70—hostage until a couple of programs benefiting his home state get favorable treatment, Talking Points Memo reports. Shelby has put an extraordinary blanket hold on all the nominations the White House has...

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