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Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about over the past week.

President Obama used his radio address last Saturday to take a stand against earmarks, specific projects written into legislation, what many critics would call "pork."

"I agree with those Republican and Democratic members of Congress who've recently said that in these challenging days, we can't afford what are called earmarks," Obama said. "[Earmarks] represent a relatively small part of overall federal spending. But when it comes to signaling our commitment to fiscal responsibility, addressing them would have an important impact."

This position was a revision of his earlier views on earmarks. Prior to this radio address, Obama had not called for a ban on all earmarks. Instead he advocated for tighter restrictions on the practice and greater transparency.

In both the House and the Senate, Republicans pledged to not request earmarks, a position that Chuck Colson considers an ethical "no-brainer."

"Earmarks are not illegal," said Colson. "But to use a political office to get tax dollars for your district in order to win political favor is clearly unethical. And getting them by circumventing the budget and appropriations process is grossly unethical.Yet it has been going on for years, and it is scandalous."

Family Research Council's (FRC) Tony Perkins said that while banning earmarks would affect little of the federal budget, "it's a good start."

Some have questioned the utility of banning earmarks because they make up a small percentage of the federal budget. In fact, one of the strongest proponents of earmarks was Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who reversed his own position this week. Just a couple of weeks ...

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The Ethics of Earmarks
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November 2010

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