Sunday, January 25, 2009

Barack Obama leaves the back door open for lobbyist

Barack Obama promised there would be no earmarks in the stimulus package. Does that mead lobbyist have packed their bags and left Washington. No. They have a back door to get their projects inserted into the package.
AP IMPACT: Lobbyists skirt Obama's earmark ban

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 33 mins ago
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's ban on earmarks in the $825 billion economic stimulus bill doesn't mean interest groups, lobbyists and lawmakers won't be able to funnel money to pet projects.

They're just working around it — and perhaps inadvertently making the process more secretive.

The projects run the gamut: a Metrolink station that needs building in Placentia, Calif.; a stretch of beach in Sandy Hook, N.J., that could really use some more sand; a water park in Miami.

Instead, the money will be doled out according to arcane formulas spelled out in the bill and in some cases based on the decisions of Obama administration officials, governors and state and local agencies that will choose the projects.
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