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More on NY-23: Owens rapped for earmarks

TIMES WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT
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WASHINGTON — A report by a Democratic senator criticizes Rep. William L. Owens and others for trying to sneak defense-related projects past a congressional ban on pork-barrel spending.
Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, is among lawmakers targeted in a report by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who has declared war on the home-district projects known as earmarks.
The report cites $10 million Mr. Owens secured in House legislation for utilities and ground improvements intended for Fort Drum, $4 million he secured for educational programs that could go to Clarkson University and $500,000 for the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization — without naming the organization.
It also cites his and Rep. Richard L. Hanna's work to secure $2.5 million for modification of weapons. The report says the earmark appears targeted to Remington Arms Co., which has a plant in Ilion.
Mr. Hanna is a Republican from Barneveld.
The 115 earmarks cited in the report were requested by Democrats and Republicans under a process designed by the House Armed Services Committee's chairman, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif.
Under Mr. McKeon's leadership, the committee created an account from which such projects and programs could be funded. Generally, the projects were described in vague terms. But in many cases, the descriptions matched past years' requests under the traditional earmarking process, Ms. McCaskill reported.
A House-Senate conference committee was set to release early this week a compromise annual defense bill that strips much of the project-oriented spending House members sought.
[N.B.: The Times has previously written about Mr. Owens's opponent's position on earmarks, which you can read here.]

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