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Tag Archive: defense

Hagel appointment would give some lobbyists a friend in the Pentagon

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Reports that President Barack Obama will tap former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican who had as many arguments with his own party as he did with Democrats, for the top job at the Pentagon has led some special interests to launch an ad campaign against him. But for former aides to the Cornhusker senator working for clients in the defense industry, Hagel winning the top job in the military means having a friend in a high place.

Lobbyists who once worked for the Nebraska lawmaker represent a host of companies that do business with the Department of Defense. Their clients ...

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Defeated Earmark Disclosure Puts Sham House Rule to Shame

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Robert Novak has more on the backdoor maneuvering and dust-up between Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Ted Stevens over the issue of disclosing earmarks that he'd alluded to earlier. Coburn sponsored a measure that would require the Pentagon to issue report cards on the utility and effectiveness of projects earmarked by members of Congress; Stevens didn't care for the scrutiny. The intra-party squabble doesn't interest me so much as the bottom line:

The earmark process enables the congressional-industrial complex to fund projects the military does not want. This year's bill appropriates money to buy 10 unrequested C-17 Globemaster cargo planes from Boeing. It also funds 60 F-22A Raptor stealth fighters, not supported by the Pentagon and opposed by McCain and Sen. John Warner, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman. F-22A appropriations are guaranteed for three years, reducing leverage with contractor Lockheed Martin.

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Keeping the Spotlight on Earmarks

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Jonathan Allen, writing in The Hill, exposes some earmarks sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot for institutions with connections to some of his closest political supporters (read: donors and fundraisers). Reading the story, I couldn't help but think how much it was like our own Exposing Earmarks effort that focused on H.R. 5647, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill--find the earmarks, tie them to a member of Congress, and then look into who's benefiting. First, what makes Allen's story in The Hill so interesting is that it rather perfectly illustrates one of the main ways in which earmarks are abused:

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