University of the District of Columbia Law Review


Earmarks signify the process of Congressional allocation of Treasury funds to selected projects or persons by individual Congress members without oversight, without any merit-based allocation process, and often, anonymously. It is a process authorized by the United States Constitution which requires Congress to supervise and direct all appropriations of money from the U.S. Treasury.1 Although a large proportion of funds are allocated to federal agencies, the remainder is available to members of Congress for special projects or persons as earmarks. Because members of Congress have had the power to earmark projects and persons without supervision and without attaching their names to the earmarks, the process has become synonymous with pork barrel politicking.

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