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Much Ado About Earmarks Open Access

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This thesis explores the controversy over earmarks and seeks to examine their place within the larger legislative and appropriations process. Additionally, it examines the role earmarks play in relations between the executive and legislative branches of government. It further argues that focusing on earmark spending, while good political theater, in practicality amounts to little more than a political red herring. Earmarks are often portrayed as a corrupting force in politics and are often contextually labeled as "pork" and wasteful spending. Though there certainly have been instances of corruption, opponents regularly decry them and suggest that the nation's funds would be better served under the stewardship of the executive branch with limited congressional interference. This thesis contends that those types of assertions are fundamentally flawed by misrepresenting the budgetary impact earmarks have, along with negating the constitutionally-directed role of Congress.

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