Thursday, August 13, 2009

Earmark info now on the web--see who pays to play

If you'd like to track information on earmarks and see if there's a connection between lobbying money going in and federal contracts coming out, you now have an easier way to do it. Taxpayers for Common Sense and The Center for Responsive Politics have released a comprehensive database linking $820 million in campaign contributions with more than $35 billion of earmarked spending by lawmakers.

"At a minimum, earmarks granted to lawmakers' friends and supporters merit scrutiny and indicate potential conflicts of interest," according to Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of the Center for Responsive Politics. In recent years, corruption probes related to earmarks have increased, and earlier this year, one prominent lobby shop shuttered operations following an FBI raid.

The earmark data is available for fiscal years 2008 and 2009, and can be accessed through both and (at OpenSecrets, find the legislator you're interested in and click on the Other Data tab).

The two groups intend to continue to work together to compile earmark data for fiscal 2010.

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