Links to Senate earmark disclosure requests in a databaseBy Bill Allison May 20 2009 3:13 p.m. 4 comments
They labeled them as funding priorities, programs and project requests, investments in their states and, in just one case, earmarks. They posted image files that can't be cut and pasted, tables, single files with every item or dozens of files for each individual item. Still, 96 members of the Senate have, for the very first time, posted their earmark requests for appropriations bills online"and you can find all the links to those disclosures here.
Unlike the House, which has required members to disclose the name and address of the beneficiaries of all their earmarks since 2007, rules adopted when the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act was passed allowed senators to file a single disclosure certifying that neither they nor their immediate family members had a financial interest in any of their earmark recipients"without specifying who those recipients are. That changed in January 2009, when Sen. Daniel Inouye joined his House counterpart, Rep. David Obey, in requiring more stringent earmark disclosure. Senators now must post their requests on their Web sites before they can be considered by the Appropriations Committee.
I couldn't find links for a few members -- Sen. Evan Bayh (Sylvia Smith reported in the Journal-Gazette that Bayh "will not request money for projects he singles out"),
Sen. Christopher Dodd (missed Sen. Dodd, but have his requests now and also Sen. Richard Durbin for Sen. Richard Durbin here).
I don't think Senate earmarks have ever gotten the same level of scrutiny that House earmarks have, in part because of the aforementioned lack of disclosure, and in part because the biggest ongoing earmark scandal, the PMA Group, is really a House scandal. While a few members have been singled out for bad earmarks (Sen. Mary Landrieu and Sen. Ben Nelson spring to mind), we can now look through all of a member's requests.
Update: By the way, Sen. Ben Nelson labeled his home page link "NE Earmarks," Sen. Richard Burr ran all the the text together, I couldn't find Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's requests without Google, and Sen. Maria Cantwell was one of the members who used a series of press releases to meet the disclosure requirement.
3d Update: Added requests of Sen. Christopher Dodd to the database...
4th Update: Added requests of Sen. Richard Durbin to the database...
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