According to a new report by The Heritage Foundation, the White House handed out "administrative earmarks" to Democratic legislators to sway them to vote for major legislative efforts such as cap-and-trade and the healthcare overhaul.
Administrative earmarking transpires when the federal government distributes funds from its discretionary budget for specific projects. Unlike legislative earmarking, the administrative use of taxpayer dollars for political favors is largely camouflaged, since, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), "[t]here is no source that defines and comprehensively identifies Administrative earmarks."
In examining grants from agencies during the early part of President Obama’s tenure, the conservative think tank found that moderate Democrats, who tended to waver on Obama’s more controversial proposals, collected generous bounties right around the passage of three key legislative efforts: the cap-and-trade bill, Dodd-Frank financial regulations, and the healthcare overhaul.
"During the run-up to votes in the House of Representatives for each of those pieces of legislation," the report noted, "the rate of administrative earmarking spiked." The distribution of earmarks surged around the time of these controversial votes, then dropped, only to shoot up again when the next vote arrived.
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