- Ken Silverstein has a must-read post on earmarks at Harpers.org. Here’s a slice of the action:
Consider here the tangled tale of Representative Pete Visclosky, an Indiana Democrat and a powerhouse on the House defense appropriations subcommittee, and a Washington lobby shop called The PMA Group. In November 2004, Visclosky secured a $900,000 earmark—the final tranche of $6.9 million in federal funding he won—to build the Purdue Technology Center, a high-tech “business incubator” in Merrillville, Indiana. Two months later, Visclosky participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the inauguration of the center.
Visclosky also took credit for recruiting four of the center’s seven charter firms, 21st Century Systems of Virginia, ProLogic of West Virginia, ACT-I of Texas, and Sierra Nevada of Nevada. But on closer inspection, Visclosky’s actions are less like “recruiting” and more like “quid pro quo.” According to campaign finance records, all four of those firms have donated generously to Visclosky in the past, with ProLogic giving $19,000 to Visclosky since last year—making it the leading donor for his current reelection campaign. Sierra Nevada, ACT-I and, 21st Century are each on the list of the top-20 donors.
- Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit provides a Porkbusters Update. Reynolds quotes a report that indicates that Senators Bill Frist (R-TN), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) have put together “34 Senate signatures on a letter backing the veto threat the President laid out yesterday on the groaning Senate supplemental.”
- Tim Shoop at Govexec’s FedBlog writes about all those lawmakers justifying the earmarking practice. His take on it: “That’s right folks. Hundreds of congressmen jockeying and horse-trading for approval of their pet projects is better than experienced professionals–accountable to their politically appointed overseers–making rational decisions about how to most effectively distribute appropriated dollars.”