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Just How Effective Is Earmark Reform?

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This is a pretty depressing article, if like Sunlight and Taxpayers for Common Sense you think transparency is a good thing when it comes to earmarks. It shows just how tough our job is, and just how crafty members of Congress are. No great surprise on either end, but still...

John Solomon and Jeff Birnbaum report:

Members of Congress are now resorting to less obvious tactics that allow them to get money to favored beneficiaries without acknowledging support for what others consider to be earmarks:

* Lawmakers are holding hearings meant to cajole or pressure executive branch officials into providing money for their pet projects -- even when those agencies already have rejected the requests.

* Congressional chairmen are writing favored projects into their committees' spending bills, exploiting a loophole in the rules that enables those expenditures to avoid being counted, and therefore disclosed overtly, as earmarks.

* Like Emanuel, a growing number of lawmakers are asking executive branch officials to use their authority to send tax dollars into congressional districts or states, effectively financing projects they desire but do not wish to accomplish with specific, and highly public, legislation.

There outta' be a law. Oh, there is. Well, maybe the law ought to be enforced. There's a concept. Pass a law and mean it.