ORIGINAL REPORTING

The Seattle Times, "The Favor Factory" series (First appeared in print and online 10/14/07). Read the original reporting and follow the ongoing coverage. Search the database created by The Seattle Times of lawmakers, earmarks, campaign donations and lobbying expenses. Find out about the current presidential candidates' 2008 defense earmarks.

EARMARKS, CAMPAIGN FINANCE, DEFENSE SPENDING, ETHICS

"Ethics Reform Recap: Pelosi follows in Gingrich's footsteps," By Ken Silverstein, Harper's Online, Washington Babylon (Blog), 1/29/08. When reporters at The Seattle Times began working on "The Favor Factory" series in 2006, it seemed that corruption was rife in Washington - a congressman facing jail time for participating in a bribes-for-government-contracts scheme (see Expos?©'s "Quid Pro Quo"), a Washington lobbyist pleading guilty to influence peddling, and waste and fraud in our defense and national security contracting (see Expos?©'s "Nice Work If You Can Get It"). Ken Silverstein, the Washington editor for Harper's Magazine and author of the mag's blog about Capitol corruption gives some historical perspective on the latest congressional promise to crack down on pork and clean up politics.

"Earmarks: The Other White Meat," On the Media, 2/1/08. Are earmarks ever justified? The Washington Post's Jonathan Wiseman puts pork in political and historical context. Do the arguments for earmarks stand up? Wiseman gives some surprising examples. You decide.

 "An Enduring Corruption: Why Congress Won't Reform," By Winslow T. Wheeler, North County Times, 11/18/2007. Winslow T. Wheeler, the former Capitol Hill staffer who spent more than 30 years crafting earmarks for powerful Senators, explains the weaknesses of so-called earmark reform. Wheeler, who appears in "Mr. Heath Goes to Washington," is the author of "Mr. Smith is Dead: No One Stands in the Way as Congress Laces Post-September 11 Defense Bills with Pork" (2002). Offering an inside view of Congressional defense spending in the wake of 9/11, Wheeler (a.k.a. Spartacus) examines ethical misconduct and opines, "Mr. Smith is dead, and no one in Congress, not even the very few who pose as reformers, has any regrets. They're far too busy with something much more important: taking care of Number One." Wheeler is also the author of Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security (US Naval Institute Press, 2004).

Why We Fight
Learn more about the Peabody Award-winning film that inspired reporter David Heath to examine the modern day "military industrial complex." Watch clips of Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address to the nation -- in which he coined the phrase -- and other scenes from Eugene Jarecki's documentary.


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