The World of Congressional Earmarking:

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The Washington Post delves into the world of Congressional earmarking where it is completely ethical for lawmakers to suggest that groups hire lobbyists and the lobbyists, after winning contracts for their clients, donate money to the lawmaker’s campaign fund. One group, Students for Free Enterprise, talked to Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) about getting federal funding for their organization, which included a student exchange program. Blunt suggested that they hire a lobbyist, so they hired Blunt’s former chief of staff Gregg Hartley. The group paid Hartley $80,000 and won $750,000 to “expand their headquarters” and $250,000 for the student exchange program. Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) suggested some lobbying firms to a defense contractor back in 2001. This year the company received a $1.5 million earmark and Reynolds received $6,000 from the lobbying firm he suggested that they hire. The article is full of similar stories of lawmakers, including Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Vern Ehlers (R-MI), suggesting lobbyists, writing earmarks, and receiving campaign contributions.

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