Earmarks and Ethical Transparency


Maybe no one else will find this amusing or ironic, but I certainly did. The Washington Post published a letter to the editor of mine yesterday, but didn’t post it online. It’s a little surprising that a paper with such a robust Web presence wouldn’t post online all the letters to the editor it prints on paper.

Here it is:

The Post correctly identifies pork-barrel spending "earmarks" as a major problem on Capitol Hill ["Pet Projects," editorial, July 5]. However, this issue is just one symptom of a much larger problem – the lack of transparency in Congress.

Under current ethics rules, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was able to effectively mask his dealings from the public by filing vague financial reports. It took Bill Allison, our investigative reporter, weeks to uncover the fact that the speaker was profiting from a secret land deal. Members of Congress ought to make full disclosure the rule, not the exception – including making their schedules public and putting all disclosure material online in an easily searchable format.

 The Toledo Blade weighed in with an editorial on the same subject earlier this week.