Washington Post October 8, 2009 Pg. 2
Ex-Staffers Winning Defense Panel Pork, Study Finds
By Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post Staff Writer
In the coming year’s military spending bill, members of a House panel continue to steer lucrative defense contracts to companies represented by their former staffers, who in turn steer generous campaign donations to those lawmakers, a new analysis has found.
The Center for Public Integrity found that 10 of the 16 members of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations obtained 30 earmarks in the bill worth $103 million for contractors currently or recently employing former staffers who have become lobbyists. The analysis by the Washington watchdog group found that earmarks still often hinge on a web of connections, despite at least three criminal investigations of the practice that became public in the past year. Those probes focus on a handful of defense contractors and a powerful lobbying firm that together won hundreds of millions of dollars in work from the House panel and are closely tied to its chairman, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.).
Phi Beta Iota: A Senate staffer explained this to us. First, staffers are trusted to not testify against the boss. Second, staffers know the deal is 2% to 5% for every earmark ultimately appropriated. Earmarks are both a form of reductionism and a form of corruption, both antithetical to the survival of the Republic.