Over at Harpers.org, Ken Silverstein leads the reader through a tale of mysterious ways of earmarking. Earmarking, write Silverstein, "is the the polite term for political pork-barreling, by which members of Congress discreetly insert money for favored projects and companies into massive spending bills."
He provides a few cases in point: Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), and his close ties to the PMA Group, a lobby shop that has supported him with campaign contributions while securing funding for various projects; and Rep. Allan Mollohan (D-WV), who recently stepped down from the House Ethics Committee and who has a has provided earmarking help for contributors.
First you select a member of Congress on the House or Senate appropriations committees; you then purchase their influence with campaign donations; you then retain the member's favored lobby shop; and for the fourth step—just watch your business grow.
Worth a read.