Monday, April 7, 2008

Bacon up that sausage, boy!

From the NY Times, a story about hidden earmarks, whose total cost might exceed that of "hard" earmarks. Lawmakers get away with it by not explicitly apportioning money to an agency, but rather "urges" or "recommends" that an agency finance a certain project. They are bullying them: while the agencies are under no specific legal order to implement the program, agencies feel pressure to follow them. Apparently you can find them all over, but lawmakers love to throw them in foreign aid programs. From the article:

Financing for the shortwave radio station, called the Madagascar World Voice, for example, began as a hard earmark request by Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas.

Mr. Sessions originally sought $2.5 million for World Christian Broadcasting, a group based in Nashville that broadcasts in several countries and promotes abstinence to prevent AIDS. The House Appropriations Committee converted it to a soft earmark.

A spokesman for World Christian Broadcasting said the organization had been in discussions with A.I.D. about the financing.

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