Share on Facebook
February 9, 2012
This week's Washington Post investigative feature on congressional earmarking highlights serious—but fixable—problems with the earmark vetting process. Tuesday's article identified $300 million in member-directed funds for projects located so close to properties of the sponsoring lawmakers that they may have benefited financially from the funding. Wednesday's article named 16 members of Congress who had ordered earmarks for organizations or businesses that employ their own family members. Predictably, some legislators are already calling for a permanent ban on all earmarking. Although the articles raise questions that the Ethics Committees should thoroughly investigate and punish if warranted, the best solution isn't to ban earmarks but rather to oversee them more carefully, make them completely transparent, and severely punish those who violate conflict of interest laws.