A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting exposes the hypocrisy of Democratic claims that the $463.5-billion spending bill they passed in February was “earmark-free,” or free of any specific pork-barrel project money for their home states.
But within days of the bill passing, Democrats deluged federal agencies to fund their pet projects directly, according to the report.
In fact, documents show that agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Commerce received 122 spending requests from 52 senators and 205 representatives in January through April — exactly when Democrats were reaping the publicity benefits of their “earmark-free” appropriations policy.
Congressmen say these requests differ from earmarks because agencies can “just say no,” but experts say the agencies, already dependent on Congress to fund their budgets, are likely to feel pressure to accede to them.
“Lawmakers try to save their earmarks”
Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2007