Earmark Law and Legal Definition

Earmark is a provision placed in congressional legislation or committee reports that directs federal funds to a specific project. Members of Congress will typically seek to insert earmarks that benefit particular projects, locations or organisations in the district or state they represent. Earmark is similar to Pork Barrel Politics.

Defenders of the earmarking process point out that directing money to particular purposes is a core Constitutional function of Congress. If Congress does not make a specific allocation, the task falls to the executive branch; there is no guarantee that the allocation made by executive agencies will be superior to Congress's. Presidents and executive officials can use the allocation of spending to reward friends and punish enemies.