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This week I decided to attend one of our class’s extra credit opportunities. I went to the “Porks and Earmarks” presentation, and I must say I learned quite a bit more than I expected to. There were three speakers, two from California State University, and one of our very own from our Vancouver campus. The speakers referred to earmarks as “directive spending”. Congress members are able to evaluate what they believe are important projects in their representative districts and petition to receive funding for these projects from their fellow Congress members. This all seems like a great idea, except when you have people abusing this very system. Corruption within the legislative branch, Congress members trading earmarks for luxurious items, or coercing other members to vote for their own earmarks. An example of this abuse is Jack Abramoff, a former Republican lobbyist. On January 3, 2006, he pled guilty to three criminal felony counts in Washington, D.C. He was guilty for defrauding American Indian tribes and corruption of political officials. This is just one example of the corruption occurring within our legislative branch. Many other government officials have been prosecuted in relation to the Jack Abramoff case.

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