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US House passes new ethics rule requiring disclosure of earmark spending sponsors

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] Thursday adopted a new rule requiring lawmakers to disclose their sponsorship of so-called "earmarks" inserted into bills to fund special spending projects. H.Res. 1000 [summary] requires that bills coming out of committee, bills containing tax measures, and conference reports list all earmarks and the names of the congressperson who requested them. Earmarks could previously be inserted anonymously.

Many see the new rule, adopted 245-171, as an attempt to reaffirm Congressional ethics in the wake of high-profile lobbying scandals involving Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay [JURIST news archives]. Citizens Against Government Waste [advocacy website] has pushed for earmark reform, reporting that Congress spent an extra $29 billion in fiscal appropriations bills in 2006 through use of earmarks. President Bush has already expressed his approval [White House press release] of the bill. In March, Bush proposed a line-item veto bill that would give him limited power to reject special spending and earmarks without compromising entire legislative packages. The measure has been approved by the House [JURIST report] but is stalled in the Senate. AP has more.

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