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Tag Archive: Tom Coburn

Lobbyists Eye Pork for Greasing, Lawmakers Eye Reform:

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The former chief of staff to Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) – now a lobbyist – is a master at greasing the wheels to get earmarks, for her clients from the Chairman, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Letitia White’s lobbying firm and their clients have contributed 37 percent of the $1.3 million raised by Lewis’ political action committee over the past six years while she has obtained numerous earmarks for her clients, defense contractors and California municipalities. Congress is eyeing reform of this practice as the federal budget deficit swells to unheard of proportions. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Trent Lott (R-CA); John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom Coburn (R-OK); and Barack Obama (D-IL) all have varying proposals to reform the process. Meanwhile, The Hill newspaper reports that some lawmakers receive earmark requests via e-mail, making the process easier for both parties.

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Lawmakers Seek to Reel in Earmarks:

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Earmarks in Appropriations bills have ballooned from 4,000 a decade ago to over 14,000 today. Legislators from both parties are taking aim at these projects and are proposing various degrees of reforms. In a Bloomberg article conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is “threatening to slow the Senate's business to a crawl by forcing his colleagues to vote on each of the thousands of obscure, sometimes unusual pork-barrel projects.” He asks, “Should we be spending money in ways that are other than in the vital interest of the country?” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is joining Coburn in threatening to bring each earmark to a vote. According to the New York Times, Trent Lott (R-MS) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have proposed a reform that “would allow senators to object to any earmarks added in the final stages of negotiations and force sponsors to win at least 60 votes to retain them … [and] require that the final version of legislation be available for at least 24 hours before a floor vote and that the sponsor of each earmark be included along with a justification.”

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