Buying votes from the taxpayers with their own money (after taking a considerable handling charge), and fattening her donors besides.
From today's Seattle Times:
When Sen. Patty Murray announced earlier this month that she had inserted $57 million in earmarks in the 2011 defense appropriations bill, she touted the two dozen projects as critical jobs-creation spending.
It was another election-season reminder of the 18-year Democratic incumbent's ability to steer federal dollars back home as a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
What Murray didn't mention is that at least nine of her defense-bill earmarks — worth $19.5 million — were awarded to clients of her former aides who now work as lobbyists.
At least 17 former Murray staff members have slid over to the lobbying sector, capitalizing on insider knowledge and connections to win favor for their clients, including lucrative earmarks.
They include Murray's former chief of staff, Rick Desimone, who landed a $1 million earmark in the defense bill for a Canadian medical company with offices in Kirkland. The bill was an even bigger win for Shay Hancock, Murray's former lead defense staffer, who lobbied for three firms that got $7.5 million in earmarks.
Murray's clout as an appropriator helps explain why lobbyists and their firms — including those that employ her former staffers — are among her biggest campaign contributors.