September 25, 2007

Bringing The Power Of The Internet To Earmark Research

The Sunlight Foundation has launched its new site designed to root out pork-barrel spending and hold lawmakers accountable for their earmarking. Earmark Watch does much more than just list earmarks -- it gives users the power to do their own research and report earmarks. The system also allows users to comment on earmarks in order to get more information into the hands of its visitors.

It provides a handy tool for searching through the database. For instance, I did a search on all earmarks in the House Defense appropriation currently wending its way to the floor to find all Minnesota earmarks. The system reports 11 earmarks, totalling over $26 million, that will be spent in our state. Almost a quarter of that comes from two earmarks to Phygen, which requires $3 million each on plasma sterilizers and ultra-endurance coating. Looking at Open Secrets, Phygen doesn't contribute to any of the earmarkers, or at least has not until now.

The list of earmarks for Minnesota on the House HHS appropriation contained at least one intriguing entry. Keith Ellison, the only Muslim in Congress, earmarked (along with Republican Jim Ramstad) $200,000 for the Jewish Family and Childrens Service in Minnetonka, to help fund a "naturally occurring retirement community demonstration project". I see no reference to the project on the organization's website, but I have sent an e-mail query to find out exactly what they plan to do with the money.

Take your own tour, and see what research you can do yourself on how your money gets spent. Bill Allison from the Sunlight Foundation will join me today on Heading Right Radio to talk more about the project.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (6)

Posted by starfleet_dude | September 25, 2007 11:12 AM

Don't neglect this peach of an earmark while you're at it today Ed:

Vitter earmarked federal money for creationist group

WASHINGTON -- Sen. David Vitter, R-La., earmarked $100,000 in a spending bill for a Louisiana Christian group that has challenged the teaching of Darwinian evolution in the public school system and to which he has political ties.

The money is included in the labor, health and education financing bill for fiscal 2008 and specifies payment to the Louisiana Family Forum "to develop a plan to promote better science education."

Posted by SonnyJim | September 25, 2007 11:28 AM

What a waste of time and talent. All this talk about pork and earmarks and etc is just adolescent foolishness in my opinion. The only way that you will reduce government spending, including earmarks and what have you, is to reduce government income. If they have it, they will spend it; and why not? What else are they going to do with it? I'm sure earmarks, like all government spending is mostly crap with an occasional good use of the money thrown in by chance and probability. The best thing to do is to reduce the government's income. We conservatives make a stupid argument for reducing taxes when we note that a little reduction actually increases revenue. What we need to do then is to continue to reduce taxes until we finally do reduce revenue.

Posted by Nate | September 25, 2007 11:42 AM

That's pretty cool, and not a waste of time at all IMO. Let the sun shine in.

For whatever its worth, I looked up my senator Gordon Smith's $150k earmark for Community Solutions for Clackamas County's "Working for Independence" program. In short, it's a program to help people with mental illness find jobs. Helping people with mental illness is one of Smith's main issues since his mentally ill son committed suicide.

Posted by starfleet_dude | September 25, 2007 11:45 AM

It should be kept in mind that most earmarks aren't for boondoggles, and it's nice to see a site that provides at least some information about them instead of just more innuendo.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 25, 2007 11:53 AM

Oh, Captain, I think the "short answer" is: POCKET IT.

In other words? Earmarks are just "bundling" pay offs. Returning money "given to a candidate," back to them, at interest. In another form. Right out of the cash register the congress critters use. AS. IF. IT'S. THEIR. MONEY !!!

I'm so glad that you and InstaPundit, are always putting the subject up, so we can see what's going on.

These are my daily stops.

And, I'm not the only one who sees this stuff, and "seeths." Just in case the muzzies think they've lasso'ed in "seething" ... they have not.

Congress, meanwhile, sits in the dumpster, on popularity ratings. After making Bush's life so miserable. Well, at least his ratings are more than double that of the thieves and scoundrels in congress.

Remember: T'marra is the date we see what the Minnesota judge does to Larry Craig's request to "pull his plea." As if, "after you're a little bit pregnant," pulling in your gait, works! Does not. Beldar is predicting a very bad day for Craig, t'marra.

If not? Columbia will get some company as a venue that needs to hang black crepe on their "back drop."

Posted by Shaprshooter | September 25, 2007 9:51 PM

QUOTE: a "naturally occurring retirement community demonstration project".

If it gets government funds, it's no longer "naturally occurring". Nice Orwellian speak, folks.

P.J. O'Rourke's "Parliament of Whores" comes to mind, especially the ending: "What we must remember is that, in a democracy, the whores are us".

IOW, That whole of that gang of 535 shysters was ELECTED by your friends and neighbors (not YOU, of course).

Post a comment