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.