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Texas Rep. Joe Barton Defends Highway Project After Being Named In Earmarks Report

The Washington Post has launched an investigation into congressional earmarks, finding that these are sometimes used to fund projects near lawmakers’ homes — projects like, in the case of one Georgia politician, securing “$6.3 million in taxpayer funds to replenish the beach about 900 feet from his island vacation cottage:”

Thirty-three members of Congress have directed more than $300 million in earmarks and other spending provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or within about two miles of the lawmakers’ own property, according to a Washington Post investigation.

Under the ethics rules Congress has written for itself, this is both legal and undisclosed.

On Tuesday, Republican Texas Rep. Joe Barton visited CNN’s Early Start to explain his use of $3 million in earmarks for the construction of a highway project for his state — a project that happens to impact Ennis, a town where Barton owns two homes.

RELATED: Oops: John McCain Accidentally Suggests Mitt Romney Likes Earmarks… Right In Front Of Romney

Barton described the project — which widens a strip of highway to four lanes — as being totally “on the up and up,” adding that it impacts several communities, not just his own. He even invited host Soledad O’Brien and her CNN viewers to visit Texas and check it out. Highway Viewing Party!

Have a look, via CNN:

h/t Washington Post

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