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August 31, 2006

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Despite Republican Sen. Ted Stevens being outed as a secret-hold source, there have been rumors swirling that there's a Democratic secret hold, too. TPM Muckraker has more:

By this morning, the dogged persistence of hundreds of bloggers and blogreaders garnered denials from 98 senators saying they did not hold up the Coburn/Obama spending transparency database bill. Only one senator, Ted "King of Pork" Stevens (R-AK), has admitted placing a hold on the bill.

But do the math -- you'll find that makes 99 senators. And Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) ain't one.

That's right: Byrd, whose penchant for pork would probably win him the Pork Crown if he weren't saddled with minority status, has for days declined to answer constituents and others who have asked if he put a hold on the spending database proposal, S. 2590.

We have called and emailed his office and press secretary at least a half-dozen times over two days. Yesterday, we were promised a statement by the end of the day; none came. This morning, spokesman Tom Gavin continued to blame Byrd's travel schedule for the lack of response.

What's more, staff in the personal and leadership offices of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have been almost uniformly mum on the issue. If Byrd placed a hold on the legislation, he would have had to notify Reid's office to do so. After several calls and conversations with numerous staffers, Reid spokesman Jon Steinberg would say for the record only that "it's the policy of our office not to talk about holds."

Well, Byrd's not exactly beyond suspicion here. In fact, he and Stevens shared top honors in the PorkBusters Hall of Shame. Maybe they just like the attention!

UPDATE: An idea on turning secret holds into a force for good.