Robert Novak has more on the backdoor maneuvering and dust-up between Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Ted Stevens over the issue of disclosing earmarks that he'd alluded to earlier. Coburn sponsored a measure that would require the Pentagon to issue report cards on the utility and effectiveness of projects earmarked by members of Congress; Stevens didn't care for the scrutiny. The intra-party squabble doesn't interest me so much as the bottom line:
The earmark process enables the congressional-industrial complex to fund projects the military does not want. This year's bill appropriates money to buy 10 unrequested C-17 Globemaster cargo planes from Boeing. It also funds 60 F-22A Raptor stealth fighters, not supported by the Pentagon and opposed by McCain and Sen. John Warner, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman. F-22A appropriations are guaranteed for three years, reducing leverage with contractor Lockheed Martin.