Without earmarks, Congress can use phone-marks to feed pet projects

December 10, 2010 07:37

CORRUPTION: ‘phone marking’ loophole lets congress spend for friends and contributors even without ‘earmarks’ in the bills.

By Matthew BoyleThe Daily Caller


Brian Riedl, a fellow for The Heritage Foundation, said the only difference between phone-marks and earmarks is that there is no “paper trail” of members’ requests. Riedl said federal agencies grant the requests more often than not for fear of their budgets being cut by spurned legislators.

Riedl told TheDC there’s “absolutely no way to know” how many phone-marks agencies follow through with because there’s not currently a tracking system in place. Phone-marks are worse than earmarks, he said, because they’re done in secret whereas earmarks are publicly available on the legislation they’re attached to.

“Members will say, ‘I really, really think you should give it to my friend in this district,’” Riedl said. “If they don’t, the agency worries, ‘okay, if I don’t do this, what’s going to happen to my budget next year? Are they going to cut my budget next year because I didn’t give into their demands?’”


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