Trading Earmarks for Campaign Cash?

To Follow The Money From The Federal Treasury To Lisa Murkowski read below to see how common the practice is.

The example below has become the norm, not the exception.

 How does a private citizen compete for elective office when his incumbent opponent can effectively access the federal treasury to finance his or her campaign? Is a democracy still a democracy if such an unfair advantage remains legal?

Citizens for ethical government wants to make this practice a felony for any person elected to any office, state or federal, from the state of Alaska.

 Murtha, House Defense Appropriations Panel Members Channeled Millions in Earmarks to Campaign Contributors in 2008 May 27, 2009

By Mary Boyle – Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) has received considerable press over the years for adding so-called earmarks to defense spending bills that benefit large campaign contributors and send no-bid contracts back to his district in Pennsylvania, many of questionable value to the taxpayer.

A review of campaign finance reports, however, shows that the practice of inserting earmarks on behalf of campaign contributors is far more widespread on Rep. Murtha’s appropriations subcommittee alone.

The 18 members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which Rep. Murtha chairs, inserted more than $355 million in earmarks into the 2008 defense spending bill on behalf of their campaign contributors.

Those contributors, according to campaign disclosure reports, donated a total of $1.3 million to the members who sponsored the earmarks. Rep. Murtha inserted a total of $166.5 million worth of earmarks in last year’s defense appropriations bill, $73.6 million of which went to some of his biggest contributors.

The recipients of those earmarks donated a total of $313,150 to Rep. Murtha’s reelection campaign or his leadership PAC during the 2008 election. “Jack Murtha is the poster boy for pay-to-play politics,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, which has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate Rep. Murtha and two of his colleagues, Rep. James Moran (D-VA) and Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN), on the defense appropriations panel for allegedly steering in exchange for hefty campaign contributions millions of dollars worth of earmarks to a now-defunct lobbying firm staffed by former Murtha aides. “But we must end the widespread practice of what appears to be trading earmarks for campaign cash. This game distorts our nation’s spending priorities and erodes public trust in our government.”

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