July 06, 2007
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: USA Today reports:
The drive to get members of Congress to reveal their requests for federal funds has divided the body's 10 presidential candidates.
Four of them have released their request lists, putting pressure on others to do so. A fifth, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, does not seek any money. Five others have not released their lists. Four cited long-standing policy. Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's office did not respond to repeated requests for comment. . . .
The issue of publicizing requests for "earmarks" — money targeted for specific programs or projects, usually in members' home states or districts — is part of an effort by watchdog groups to shed light on what has traditionally been a largely secret process.
"We think the transparency will eventually lead to fewer earmarks," says Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, which has asked all lawmakers twice for their funding requests. "It's difficult for the leadership to continue to say, 'We're the most open and ethical Congress ever, and yet we're not telling you what we're requesting for earmarks.' "
But not as difficult as it ought to be.