April 18, 2007

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Okay, this isn’t directly related to pork, but it’s a good idea, and it’s certainly in the ballpark:

But if Newmark has his way, there might be a new online venture that most certainly would be of interest to Washingtonians. At a private dinner in Manhattan over the weekend, Newmark expressed an interest in starting a Web site that would track the net worth of politicians while they’re in office. There are no concrete plans under way yet, but Newmark admitted that he’s done a lot of thinking about the idea recently.

One of the things that sparked Newmark’s interest in such a project was former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who has seen his own personal fortune grow from roughly $290,000 when he first joined Congress to more than $6 million, 20 years later.

“I just don’t see why these guys are amassing personal, private fortunes while in office,” Newmark said.

This wouldn’t be Newmark’s first participation in an online venture designed to increase transparency: On Friday, Newmark announced that he had accepted a full board membership at the Sunlight Foundation, which seeks to “reduce corruption, ensure greater transparency and accountability by government, and foster public trust in the vital institutions of democracy.”

Yeah, it’s kind of suspicious how these guys always seem to get rich on government salaries.

And here, by the way, is an interesting rumination by Craig Newmark on what he’s learned from Craigslist. I heard it on the radio the other day, but now the audio’s up. It’s worth a listen.

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