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Democrats boasted that they had not included earmarks in the economic stimulus bill, but lawmakers of both parties relished the opportunity to stuff the new bill with pet projects.
Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, counted more than 8,500 “Congressionally designated projects” in the bill and said the cost of these earmarks totaled $7.7 billion., up 3.4 percent from last year.
Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, said it was unseemly for Congress to finance so many pet projects at a time when “the Justice Department is investigating the connection between earmarks and campaign contributions.”
By a vote of 226 to 182, the House killed a proposal by Mr. Flake calling on the House ethics committee to investigate such connections.