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House Appropriations defense subcommittee member James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) works hard at fundraising: Two to three times a week, he telephones contributors to ask for more. Yet, according to the account he supplied to the Office of Congressional Ethics last year, he is unaware of “who made donations” or how much they gave, and so that information plays no role in his earmarking — the systematic granting of public funds for mostly private purposes.
Fellow subcommittee member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) similarly presides over fundraisers arranged by his staff for defense firms and lobbyists every three months or so, according to his office’s account. An aide in charge of Dicks’s earmarks attends the fundraising events. But Dicks and the aide told investigators they were unaware of the substantial overlap between defense industry contributions to Dicks and his earmarks to contributors.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. “There was a ‘woof’ sound,” said a witness, “like falling on your face into your pillow.”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”