Pentagon earmarks live on, renamed

May 29, 2011 at 3:32 PM

WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- Despite a much-touted ban on earmarks, U.S. House members are directing millions to hometown military projects, records show.

A "Mission Force Enhancement Transfer Fund" has emerged through which the new Congress appropriated $9 million for "future undersea capabilities development," $19 million for "Navy ship preliminary design and feasibility studies," and more than $30 million for a "corrosion prevention program," among other goodies, CNN reports.

Altogether, some $1 billion was quietly shifted from programs listed in the official defense budget to the new fund, which did not exist when earmarks were still allowed last year.

The funding for "undersea capabilities" was put in by Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who represents the home of General Dynamics Electric Boat, maker of submarines.

The "design and feasibility studies" were guided by Rep. Steve Palazzo, R-Miss., whose district's biggest employer is Ingalls Shipbuilding. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, ordered the anti-corrosion money. The University of Akron is studying the problem.

"These amendments may very likely duck the House's specific definition of what constitutes an earmark, but that doesn't mean they aren't pork," says Leslie Paige of Citizens Against Government Waste.

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