Democrats To Get All Vincent Van Gogh About Earmarks

Filed in National by on March 10, 2010

Ethically speaking it hasn’t been a great year for Democrats in Washington, but with the ouster of Massa and other corrections of mis-steps, Congressional Democrats are continuing down the path of ethics reform. One item ripe for massive reform are earmarks. House Democrat leaders are actively working on ways to reform —even temporarily halt — the earmark process.

According to senior aides familiar with the internal discussions, Pelosi’s leadership team has considered calling for a one-year moratorium on all earmarks, discussions that were first reported this week by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

But the more likely decision, aides said, would be to ask rank-and-file lawmakers to accept a one-year ban on earmarks distributed to for-profit companies, the type of no-bid contracts that have been at the center of most corruption allegations. While the earmark ban would be temporary, key leaders hope it would become permanent in the years ahead.

It will be interesting to see where the Republican party circles their wagons on this issue. Will they embrace reform or will they side with Republican Senator Thad Cochran who called proposed earmark reform “spending without representation”. I’m going to guess the latter since as the graph below shows, Republicans love them earmarks. As one Democrat aide said about the GOP, “Toyota has more credibility on car safety than these guys have on ethics.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. It would be a good thing if the Democratic majority managed to end, or at a minimum make the earmark process more complete. Hopefully the days where Congressmen can slip in money for their favorite donors without their constituents knowing will come to an end.

  2. cassandra_m says:

    A permanent ban on earmarks for private companies is not a bad idea. It doesn’t save much money, but it closes one door for some of the corrupt fundraising going on out there.