The investigation did find that there is a widespread perception among corporations and lobbyists that campaign contributions provide enhanced access to Members or greater chance of obtaining earmarks, the report concludes. However, the record indicates that Members, by and large, take great care to separate their official and campaign functions, particularly with respect to earmark requests.
The OCE investigations of the seven appropriators only reached back to 2008 because of statutory limits on the OCEs authority.
It is not clear how much further the ethics committee investigated.
The OCE also pointed out that it does not have the authority to issue subpoenas and was unable to obtain documents in the possession of PMA.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.