Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
More than 100 House members secured earmarks in a major spending bill for clients of a single lobbying firm — The PMA Group — known for its close ties to John P. Murtha , the congressman in charge of Pentagon appropriations.
....PMA’s offices have been raided, and the firm closed its political action committee last week amid reports that the FBI is investigating possibly illegal campaign contributions to Murtha and other lawmakers.
No matter what the outcome of the federal investigation, PMA’s earmark success illustrates how a well-connected lobbying firm operates on Capitol Hill. And earmark accountability rules imposed by the Democrats in 2007 make it possible to see how extensively PMA worked the Hill for its clients.
Now that's how the game is played: 100 congressmen, $300 million in spending, and $1 million in campaign contributions. And it might even be illegal! Or not. But while we're waiting to find out, click here if you're curious to see if your congress critter was involved.
UPDATE: Stuart Staniford, who obviously has way too much time on his hands, sends along a scattergram of earmarks vs. campaign contributions that demonstrates the difference between Democratic and Republican corruption: "Republicans apparently do this stuff pretty much for a small flat fee (on average) but Democrats need to be paid about 1/2 cent on the dollar." Coincidence? Science says no!