May 2, 2009

CONCORD MONITOR: The More Restraints On Earmarks The Better.

Rep. Paul Hodes, who was out of the blocks in a flash when Sen. Judd Gregg announced that his intention to retire in 2010, continues to make a mark in Washington. Last week, Hodes and fellow Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona sponsored a bill that would prohibit lawmakers from accepting campaign contributions from the top officials of any company that benefited from an earmark sponsored by that member of Congress during the following election cycle.

The bill isn’t perfect. Its prohibitions, for now, apply only to the president, CEO, chief operating officer or chief financial officer of the earmark beneficiary. There are already, no doubt, people hard at work figuring out ways to get around the ban. House members’ terms are also shorter than then the memories of earmark beneficiaries. Both sides could simply factor the new rule into their long range planning – play now, pay later. Still, the bill is a big step in the right direction, and members of Congress who vote against its passage will have some explaining to do.

Faster, please.

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