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The House ethics committee ruled Friday that seven lawmakers who steered hundreds of millions of dollars in largely no-bid contracts to clients of a lobbying firm had not violated any rules or laws by also collecting large campaign donations from those contractors. In a 305-page report, the ethics committee declared that lawmakers are free to raise campaign money from the very companies they are benefiting so long as the deciding factors in granting those " earmarks " are "criteria independent" of the contributions. The report served as a blunt rejection of ethics watchdogs and a different group of congressional investigators, who have contended that in some instances the connection between donations and earmarks was so close that it had to be inappropriate.
With total US military spending now approaching ¾ of a trillion dollars per year - about as much as the rest of the world's countries combined - cutting military spending is becoming an issue of concern for the peace movement and beyond, especially as the president has proposed a three-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending.
$2000 per dead child! That's the amount of compensation offered by the Pentagon for the "collateral damage" which it has caused in Afghanistan. As the war escalates and more innocent victims of Washington's aggressive actions accumulate in number, the US military calculates what it will take to placate grieving Afghan parents.