Monday June 18, 2007 | This past week Marcus Stern, Dean Calbreath, Jerry Kammer, and George Condon Jr — members of the The San Diego Union-Tribune and Copley News Service team who broke the Pulitzer Prize winning story on the “Duke” Cunningham scandal appeared on San Diego television, radio, at book store signings, and in presentations at the Institute of the Americas, the Catfish Club and the City Club.

Their book “The Wrong Stuff” — available in bookstores and online at Amazon and Wal-Mart — is a shocking primer on the sometimes flawed Congressional practice of “secretly earmarking” millions of taxpayer dollars for worthless “hometown” projects.

The earmark opens the door for members of Congress to obtain political contributions (“honest? graft”) and bribes (“dishonest graft or graft/graft”) for sometimes worthless “hometown” projects.

Lobbyists, government contractors, prostitutes, private jet providers, luxury hotels and food service providers, limousine services, smugglers and traffickers in Cuban cigars, some members of Congress and at least once CIA official are among the beneficiaries of “secret or disguised” earmarks. Taxpayers, members of the military, military families, and others are harmed as scarce government dollars are diverted to worthless earmarked projects.

To stop graft one must understand how it works. An informed citizenry is the first and most effective tool to stop corruption.

Read “The Wrong Stuff” and answer the questions concerning whether you are tolerating, condoning, and facilitating a culture of Congressional corruption.

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