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What is an Earmark?

Earmarks are funds provided by the Congress for projects, programs, or grants where the purported congressional direction (whether in statutory text, report language, or other communication) circumvents otherwise applicable merit-based or competitive allocation processes, or specifies the location or recipient, or otherwise curtails the ability of the executive branch to manage its statutory and constitutional responsibilities pertaining to the funds allocation process.

What Does the Earmarks Database Show?

This database provides more information on earmarks in one place than has ever been available through the Federal Government. It is part of an effort to bring greater accountability and transparency to Federal spending.


Limitations of the Earmarks Database:

The recipient/beneficiary listed in the database may not represent the final recipient/beneficiary of a particular earmark. For example, if the Federal Government provides funds to a specific recipient (e.g., a city), the recipient may forward the funds or benefits to another entity.

The 2005 database was not designed, and cannot accurately be used, to identify individual congressional sponsors of earmarks. Congressional sponsors are included in the 2008 database as identified by Congress. When earmarks do not have sponsors explanations are noted.

Last Updated: 14-Jun-2011 (Changes from last update)