"In the new political era, House members consider earmarks fraught with peril. But before House Republicans voted to stop asking for them, before Democrats vowed to limit where the money goes, lawmakers from both parties sought federal funding for profit-making companies.
The bill that funds the Energy Department and water projects for this year contains at least six earmarks giving grants to for-profit companies. And in at least two cases, lawmakers obtained earmarks for companies that had given those same House members campaign contributions.
Rep Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) secured a $750,000 earmark for a company that has given him $14,250 this election cycle. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) won a $300,000 earmark for a company that has contributed $3,000 to his re-election campaign.
Those are the kind of earmarks that have prompted calls to eliminate special project funding, government watchdogs and outside analysts said."