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Landrieu and Earmarks for Contributors



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Republicans have reasons to be happy with the raft of bills that just passed into law, but I still believe they will deeply regret their failure to swear off earmarks and make them into a major political issue. This is particularly true given today’s report in the Washington Post on Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) earmark scandal.

When Congress decided to appropriate $2 million in fall 2001 to help D.C. kindergartners and first-graders learn to read, city school officials were told that the money could be spent only on the Voyager Expanded Learning literacy program, a new product with virtually no track record. They had just picked a different reading curriculum, and “we didn’t want to be guinea pigs,” recalled Mary Gill, then the system’s chief academic officer.

School leaders did not know that the $2 million was an earmark that had been guided into law by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) just after she had received more than $30,000 in campaign contributions at a fundraiser held by Voyager’s founder and chairman.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is already pushing the story around, as they should. And it will get some play. But it would be easier if the Senate Republican leader weren’t campaigning for re-election based on how much pork he brings home to his state



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