Barry Case Raises Issue Of Earmarks

10:44 PM, Feb 16, 2010   |    comments
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Marion Barry

WASHINGTON, DC WUSA) -- The investigation of Ward Eight Councilman Marion Barry and his grants of personal services contracts has raised again the wisdom of a council perk known as the earmark.

Earmarks are essentially funds that are set aside for the pet projects of individual council members and include the personal services contracts at issue in the Barry case.

Related Story: Marion Barry Broke Laws According To Special Counsel

"Clearly, this is a situation ripe for abuse and it is a bit problem if City Council can give out city money-- and it's not just city money, that's our tax dollars we're talking about -- that can go to any friend of any council member just because they want it to without any city service coming for it in return," said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

"Clearly, the City Council is going to have to tighten up it's rules,"she told 9NEWS NOW.

"Earmarks are like a narcotic drug. Elected officials can become addicted to them," said Special Counsel Robert Bennett in his presentation Tuesday.

"We believe that the Council should seriously consider eliminating the practice of earmarks," he said.

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