Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., steered earmarks to some organizations with a board member who is also serving as a top bundler to his presidential campaign, according to the Next Right. This raises what for me is one of the primary questions about earmarks in general. Members of Congress say they know the needs of their states (or districts, in the case of House members). Whence comes this in-depth knowledge? Do they hear about needs from constituents, from their own personal observations, or do insiders–lobbyists, campaign contributors and others–educate them? Because the process is so opaque, in most cases we simply don’t know.