Earmaks as a return on investment

Bill Allison at Sunlight

an article in Roll Call:

Every private entity that

Rep. John Murtha

(D-Pa.) favored with an earmark in this year’s defense bill recently has given political money to the lawmaker, according to an analysis of House Appropriations and federal elections records by Roll Call and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

PACs and employees of those 26 groups together have contributed $413,250 to Murtha since the beginning of 2005. He collected nearly a quarter of the sum — $100,750 — in the two weeks leading up to March 16, the original deadline for lawmakers to file their earmark requests.

To put it in perspective (because I hate numbers reported in isolation—for Eddie Izzard fans— “squeezy squeezy… is that good??”), $413k is about 15% of Murtha’s total receipts in 2005-2006. That’s huge, for 15% of your incoming contributions to be repaid in earmarks, and for sure the earmarks sent back at least that amount to the contributors.

Of course, I always like to see the methodology before taking any results too far, but Roll Call is subscriber-only. Murtha staffers or supports that might be reading that think the conclusion is off should email me.