The Democrats took over Congress, pledging to curb the practice of earmarks.
They didnâ€™t quite succeed. The omnibus spending bill they produced in December was filled with spending projects of a less-than-national character, most of which no congressperson but the original politician who placed it in the bill ever saw.So, just another sad story for fiscal responsibility, eh?
No. Senator Jim DeMint asked Congressâ€™s research organization to prepare a report on the legality of these earmarks, and on the legality of the Executive Branch just ignoring them.
The verdict? Since most earmarks were placed not in the bill itself, but in subsidiary explanatory reports, their status as law falls way short of constitutionality.
So the president could easily issue an Executive Order instructing his underlings simply to ignore the earmarks. They werenâ€™t placed in the omnibus bill as real laws, so it would be just fine to disregard them as the extra-legal finaglings they are.
This became a big issue in late December. Mark Tapscott, editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner, alerted his readers to the issue repeatedly; there was great Internet buzz. But the buzz didnâ€™t yield an immediate and unequivocal response from the White House.
Though anti-pork activists hailed the idea, Democrats have described it as all-out war between the branches of government.
A war on illegal spending? Iâ€™m a hawk.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.