Congressional scholar Thomas Mann agrees. "The fiscal fallout of earmarks is trivial," he said. The problem is that they can lead to "conflicts of interest, the irrational and unconstructive allocation of resources, or their use by Congressional leaders as carrots and sticks to buy votes for larger measures that clearly lack majority support on the merits."
Taxpayers for Common Sense, whoever they are (I'm not convinced this is a credible group, but it's a straightforward issue), issued a report that shows only 18 members of congress don't use earmarks.
Some surprising names turned up on the list.
- Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio.
- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
- Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia
- Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri
- Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California
- Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
- Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
- Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
- Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas
- Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
- Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
It's quite a baffling list. "Pa Bell" Rockefeller and "Tobacco Checks" Boehner are two of the dirtiest players in the game, so, I guess if you get enough loot from campaign finance then you can drop the whole earmarking business. Hey, the jig is up anyway, so why not drop the earmarks?