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Mar 10, 2010 11:30 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

House Democrats ban earmarks to corporations

House Democratic leaders have announced that they will ban the much-criticized practice of using annual spending bills to direct pet projects to for-profit companies that often return the favor with campaign contributions.

The announcement comes as their GOP rivals are weighing giving up so-called earmarks altogether in an election-year appeal to voters frustrated with Washington's free-spending ways.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey says the step will mean 1,000 fewer earmarks. The step comes after the ethics committee investigated seven members of a Pentagon spending panel for rewarding earmarks to companies whose executives and hired lobbyists showered them with campaign cash. The panel found no linkage and absolved the lawmakers.

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