Sunrise (3/18/11)

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WHAT EARMARK BAN?

NYT: “Congress pledged to usher in a new way of doing business in recent months when it banned earmarks, the widely criticized provisions that lawmakers insert into huge federal budget bills to pay for pet projects back home without much, if any, public oversight. The ban was one of the promises made by a newly elected class of conservatives in the House. … But, as it turns out, lawmakers still have a way to get their favorite projects funded: appealing directly to federal agencies for money that is already available. And agency officials seem to be paying attention, though an executive order has directed agencies not to take on projects based on the recommendations of members of Congress. In some cases, that may be the result of the clout certain lawmakers have over how much money an agency receives. … Some lawmakers say the earmark ban has left them no choice but to go directly to the agencies. “We have to make an end run around the roadblocks we are facing,” said Mr. Ackerman, a 14-term incumbent. “Those of us who are fast on our feet will have the advantage of being able to deliver for our constituents.”

NEW HOUSE INFORMATION HUB

Roll Call: “House staff got a peek Thursday afternoon at the chamber’s redesigned website, which will roll out in mid-April. … John Clocker, the director of Web systems for the Chief Administrative Officer, previewed the sleek blue-on-white design, which aims to make house.gov more user-friendly. … Among the new features will be up-to-date information on the home page about committee schedules, the latest votes and information from the Clerk of the House. The home page currently contains links that redirect Web users to other pages with that information.”

LOBBYISTS SEEK JOBS ON HILL

Washington Post: “A surge of lobbyists has left K Street this year to fill jobs as high-ranking staffers on Capitol Hill, focusing new attention on the dearth of rules governing what paid advocates can do after moving into the legislative world. … Ethics rules sharply limit the activities of former lobbyists who join the executive branch and former lawmakers who move to lobbying firms. But experts say there are no limits on lawmakers hiring K street employees and letting them write legislation in sync with the policies they advocated for hire. … New tallies indicate that nearly half of the roughly 150 former lobbyists working in top policy jobs for members of Congress or House committees have been hired in the past few months. And many are working on legislative issues of interest to their former employers.”

FUNDRAISING PARTIES TODAY

–Fundraising parties can be found here.

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