March 21, 2007


The Devil Wears Earmarks (Winslow T. Wheeler, March 21, 2007, Politico)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) promised "the most ethical Congress ever." One abuse being addressed is "earmarking" -- the practice of pandering to constituent favor and vested interests with special projects injected into spending bills -- also known as "pork." Based on press coverage, it would seem that Pelosi and her party have, at a minimum, made an honest effort to deliver on their promise.

It would be nice if that were true, but it is not. [...]

Here's what they've done.

House Resolution 6, Pelosi's ballyhooed measure to reform earmarking and other abuses, permits any spending bill to be ruled "out of order" in the House (and therefore dead) unless it is accompanied by a list of all earmarks in the bill and its associated legislative materials. The identity of each earmark's congressional sponsor must be displayed along with "the name and address of the intended recipient" or "the intended location" of the earmark, its purpose and a certification that no member of Congress, or spouse, has any financial interest in the earmark. In other words, the reform seeks to shed sunshine on earmarks.

Sounds good, doesn't it?

The sunshine this measure sheds is more deceptive than illuminating. That's because each earmark description, and all the associated information, is to be supplied not by an objective entity, but by the earmark's congressional sponsor. In other words, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) will be allowed to explain without fear of contradiction why his brown tree snake eradication program should be added to the defense budget. Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) can articulate every reason the Boeing Co. has fed him for why another four-star general needs a new VIP aircraft.

Gosh, weren't you convinced everything would be different?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 21, 2007 8:11 PM

Convincing you or me wasn't he goal. Just enough of the ignorant chumps who proudly call themselves "moderates" so as to get over that magical 50%+1. And it worked, did't it? All they're doing now is making the down-payment for their relection next year.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 21, 2007 9:10 PM

Man, it took barely two months to get down to the "E". I wonder it there's some sort of font that will portray fractions of letters, cause where can we go next?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 21, 2007 9:29 PM