CNN LOU DOBBS TONIGHT Aired February 14, 2008 - 19:00 ET KITTY PILGRIM, CNN ANCHOR: The 2008 earmark season is under way. Congressmen and senators from both parties are telling constituents and lobbyists to recommend pet projects that could be financed by the federal government. According to a new report by Taxpayers for Common Sense, Congressman Jack Murtha, the head of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, leads the list of congressmen obtaining earmarks. Louise Schiavone reports there may be a distinct correlation between earmarks given by Congressman Murtha and campaign contributions. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the world of federal spending, it's that time of year again, just two weeks to go to get your request in for earmarks, specifically-targeted spending awarding essentially in the form of no-bid contracts. Submissions are to be entered on this handy House Appropriations Committee Web site, and if history is any guide, defense of Committee Chairman John Murtha of Pennsylvania promises to be a standout. RYAN ALEXANDER, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: Representative Murtha in the House has always been a champion and he's at the top again. Every single earmark that he made was to someone who gave him a campaign contribution. SCHIAVONE: Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group, reports that last year Murtha single-handedly nailed down $160 million worth of earmarks. On the receiving end of these earmarks, businesses like Concurrent Technologies, DRS Technologies, Inc., and The National Drug Intelligence Center, all of which have two things in common, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, an address in Murtha's district and contributions to his campaign chest. Congressman Murtha refused to comment, but his critics aren't holding back. REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: When I see reports like Congressman Murtha that every single recipient of an earmark turns around and puts campaign cash into his campaign coffers, the system is broken and he's the number one ear marker on Capitol Hill. And it's the triumph of politics over merit, and the system is broken. SCHIAVONE: At the end of this month, Congressman Murtha will host a campaign fund-raiser at a posh hotel near the Pentagon, an annual event where defense contractors have been regular attendees. (END VIDEOTAPE) SCHIAVONE: Kitty, President Bush has vowed to veto any spending bill that does not reflect a 50 percent or more reduction in last year's earmarks. But it remains to be seen if members of both parties can stop binging on these earmarks Kitty. PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Louise Schiavone. Thanks, Louise. Senator Hillary Clinton leads the presidential candidates in the use of earmarks. According to the study for of Taxpayers for Common Sense, the New York senator secured more than $340 million for home-state projects. That places her among the top ten Senate recipients and that's almost four times as much as Senator Barack Obama. The Illinois senator supported $91 million in earmarks. And in sharp contrast, Senator John McCain, a fierce critic of earmarks, did not request any. McCain is one of only five senators to do so.