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The new effort by a coalition of bloggers and non-profits to identify pork-barrel projects gets noticed in today's Washington Post. Judy Sarasohn reports on the new Exposing Earmarks website at the Sunlight Foundation:
One legislator's "pork," of course, is another's vital public works project. But all are earmarks, those tax and spending directions added to money bills at the behest of anonymous lawmakers -- anonymous, that is, until the legislation is passed and they can boast of it to constituents.
A coalition of odd bedfellows is trying to bring more transparency to earmarking by encouraging citizens to get involved in tracking who is trying to get what money for which special interest. And all of this will be online and available to the public.
The coalition includes the Sunlight Foundation, Citizens Against Government Waste, Porkbusters.org, Human Events Online and the Washington Examiner newspaper. They created a single database of earmarks, but each organization is presenting the database on its own Web site and asking the public to participate in different ways. Generally, however, they are asking citizens to investigate the earmarks that grab their attention, then report back. They plan to share their information with each other.
Sarasohn even included the URL in her report, and the Pos t created it as a hotlink. A number of us in the blogosphere have supported it from its launch earlier this week, and the Examiner even has a challenge to its readers to call their Congressmen for an explanation of the earmarks for unnecessary local politics. It's this last effort that will help to change the culture of pork in the halls of Congress.
Of course, this database only covers the proposed appropriations for Health & Human Services. In order to really blow the lid off of pork, we need to have an interactive database like this that covers the entire federal budget. Senators Tom Coburn and Barack Obama have proposed just that solution in S 2590, which came out of committee last month. However, we have discovered that at least one Senator has placed an anonymous hold on 2590, attempting to spike the bill before it comes up for a vote. We need to get every Senator on the record as to whether they placed the hold on the legislation. Call your Senator and get an answer, then leave your notes in the comments section here. Let them know that we're watching.Sphere It View blog reactions
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