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Blend of phone +‎ earmark


phonemark (plural phonemarks)

  1. A non-legislative designation by a telephone call from a legislator, of specific projects for funding as part of funding for more general programs.
    • 2013, Walter J. Oleszek, Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process, page 61:
      They were earmarks by another name. The techniques employed included “lettermarks,” members writing to administrators to urge that home-based projects be funded; “phonemarks,” calling executive officials to request money for projects in their states or districts; and "soft marks." simply "suggesting" to agency officials that money should be spent on the lawmaker's project.
    • 2018 January 23, James T. Walsh, Melanie Sloan, Rich Gold, Craig Holman, “The case for restoring earmarks”, in Washington Post:
      The current system has also allowed political interference we didn't expect. Some officials in the executive branch and others, including members of Congress, have kept the earmark tradition alive with less transparency by pressuring agencies to fund particular projects through phone calls (or "phonemarks"), letters ("lettermarks") and meetings.


phonemark (third-person singular simple present phonemarks, present participle phonemarking, simple past and past participle phonemarked)

  1. (US politics, transitive) To apply pressure on a government agency to fund a specific project as part of a more general program.
    • 2008 June 11, “Deseret News candidate questionnaire:”, in Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah:
      Or worse, without earmarks the members of the spending committees can "phonemark" projects without anyone ever knowing

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