September 18, 2006

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The next blogger transparency swarm has begun:

Bloggers played a central role in Congress’ quick action over the past two weeks in passing a bill that would create a database on federal grants and contracts. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

The conservative-oriented Porkbusters coalition started that effort, but blogs of other political leanings, including GOPProgress and TPMMuckraker, eventually joined the fight and pushed it to completion.

Transparency fostered the nonpartisan unity in the blogosphere, and that same goal is behind the new effort that surfaced today. A column in The Washington Post about the lack of electronic access to the campaign filings of Senate candidates prompted a quick reaction from bloggers in both parties, including two who were key players in the 2005-2006 blog swarm over campaign finance rules.

Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters was first out of the gate in arguing that the blogosphere’s next bipartisan demand should be forcing Senate candidates to file electronically, just as House and presidential candidates already do.

“For some reason, Trent Lott and a number of our elected representatives in the Senate want to keep us from accessing that information in a timely manner,” Morrissey wrote. “Usually that means they either have something to hide or see the clunky, slow process currently in use as a hedge for their incumbency. We need to remind them that they serve at our pleasure, and that playing games with full disclosure does not please us in the least.”

Within hours, both Mike Krempasky of RedState and Adam Bonin, a lawyer who represented three Democratic bloggers before the FEC, were on the case. “There’s a bill to fix this, of course. And unfortunately for our side, it’s one of our guys holding it up,” Krempasky said of Senate Rules Committee Chairman Lott, R-Miss.

“So please, get on the phone and call Senator Lott’s office. … Make sure they know that [the bill] deserves a hearing — and deserves a vote.”

Bonin posted his thoughts at MyDD. “There is not much on which the left and right blogospheres agree, except, perhaps, on the ability of the Internet itself to transform politics,” he wrote. “It empowers the masses and provides for greater transparency in government, allowing citizens to have a greater understanding of and power over what’s going on in Washington.”

That same belief also explains a new blog entry at Dollarocracy, a blog of the Sunlight Foundation, which has been working with Porkbusters to expose the lawmakers who are behind earmarks in spending bills.

Read the whole thing. And there’s more here. If you’d like to call Trent Lott, call 202.225.3121 and ask for his office.

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