Seeing for myself on earmark disclsosureBy Bill Allison Jul 30 2007 9:05 p.m.
I'm going through the version of the bill N.Z. posted, and came across this language on page 68:
(2) that the information in clause (1) has been available on a publicly accessible congressional website in a searchable format at least 48 hours before such vote.
Clause 1 requires all congressionally directed spending in bills -- earmarks, tax breaks, etc. -- be "identified through lists, charts, or other similar means including the name of each Senator who submitted a request to the committee for each item so identified..."
That would seem to contradict point two from the list of objections N.Z. Bear posted ("The new version removes the requirement for earmark lists posted online to be in searchable format").
The bulk of earmarks are in committee reports, and these would be handled differently. The new bill says, starting on line 15 of page 70,
...If a committee reports a bill or joint resolution that includes congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits in the bill or joint resolution, or in the committee report accompanying the bill or joint resolution, the committee shall as soon as practicable identify on a publicly accessible congressional website each such item through lists, charts, or other similar means, including the name of each Senator who submitted a request to the committee for each item so identified. Availability on the Internet of a committee report that contains the information described in this subparagraph shall satisfy the requirements of this subparagraph.
(c) To the extent technically feasible, information made available on publicly accessible congressional websites under paragraphs 3 and 4 shall be provided in a searchable format. (emphasis added)
Seems like the bulk of earmarks are in committee reports rather than in the text of legislation. So it appears that in this version of the bill, posting an unsearchable .pdf with a chart of earmarks could be considered to be enough (as Laura Peterson of Taxpayers for Common Sense once noted, these can be presented in "visual quality that would strain the eyes of Superman, much less daylight-deprived budget watchdogs"). I suppose it depends on what "to the extent technically feasible" means.
More to come...
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