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When you hear Claire McCaskill strutting her deficit cutting stuff by boasting about how she opposes earmarks, you are entitled to roll your eyes. Earmarks amount to less than 2% of the budget and the deficit would hardly know it if they said bye-bye tomorrow.  

There is, however,  a serious problem with earmarks: influence peddling. They provide a very useful tool for corrupt politicians. The reason I’m bringing this topic up now is this little nugget that I came across while scanning the KC Star’s Prime Buzz:  

We’re told Roy Blunt  has worked hard to get support from some leaders in Kansas City’s African-American community, particularly from members worried about Robin Carnahan’s opposition to earmarks, which are used to help projects in the inner city.

And we’re told that work has or will bear fruit, with endorsements from some members of the community, including we’re told, Rev. Modest Miles.

I’ve got no problems with the Rev. John Modest Miles. I am sure that he just wants to do the best for his community. He and any other member of the Kansas City African-American community have every right to decide that Roy Blunt’s positions on earmarks suit them more than Robin Carnahan’s.

But if Blunt, who is known for inserting favors for campaign donors into unrelated legislation, goes after Rev. Miles’ endorsement while waving his earmark wand, doesn’t it create just a little stench? We need to remember that this is the same Roy Blunt about whom former New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall wrote that he “embodies the insidious, half-legal corruption that has permeated the G.O.P. majority since 1995.”

* Last paragraph edited slightly.