AP: Lobbyists Get Around Obama's Earmark Ban
Associated Press writer Julie Hirschfeld Davis wrote an interesting story about something that feels almost inevitable.
"President Barack Obama's ban on earmarks in the $825 billion economic stimulus bill doesn't mean interest groups, lobbyists and lawmakers won't be able to funnel money to pet projects," she wrote.
"They're just working around it -- and perhaps inadvertently making the process more secretive."
Even a quick read of the massive House stimulus bill suggests that influence -- naturally, some of you in the know will say -- will play a role in how a lot of the money is handed out.
Here's what the AP story had to say:
"The result, as The Associated Press learned in interviews with more than a dozen lawmakers, lobbyists and state and local officials, is a shadowy lobbying effort that may make it difficult to discern how hundreds of billions in federal money will be parceled out.
"'No earmarks' isn't a game-ender," said Peter Buffa, former mayor of Costa Mesa, Calif. "It just means there's a different way of going about making sure the funding is there."
"It won't be in legislative language that overtly sets aside money for them. That's the infamous practice known as earmarking, which Obama and Democratic congressional leaders have agreed to nix for the massive stimulus package, expected to come up for a House vote this week.
"Instead, the money will be doled out according to arcane formulas spelled out in the bill and in some cases based on the decisions of Obama administration officials, governors and state and local agencies that will choose the projects."
Government Inc. would like to highlight any stimulus tidbits you can draw to our attention. All ideas welcome.
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