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Earmarks Crash Computer, Chairman Accepts Less Transparency


I don't know what amuses me most, that this happens at all or that this happens every year. The computer system designed to handle earmark requests at the House Transportation Committee crashed after lawmakers uploaded their earmarks to it. Seriously, this happens every year. I'm beginning to think it's those Apple IIE's that Congress is still typing away on rather than the sheer volume of earmarks. How about an earmark for new computers?

Despite the computer-crashing weight of this year's earmarks, Committee chair James Oberstar has decided to pursue a path of lesser transparency, as compared to the House Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations Committee requires all earmark requests be disclosed at the time they are made. According to Roll Call, "Oberstar set a May 14 deadline for Members to submit requests and encouraged them to post the requests on their Web sites, but he stopped short of setting a mandatory deadline."

It doesn't seem quite right for the committee that brought us the "Bridge to Nowhere" and "Coconut Road" (not the Mario Kart level) to provide a lesser level of transparency than other authorizing committees.