Byrd’s Sweet Nothings on Earmarks


Andy Roth of the Club for Growth quotes Sen. Robert Byrd on the Senate floor: “Hear me now! There is nothing, nothing, nothing inherently wrong with earmarks.”

Absolutely, Senator, so it would go without saying, one would presume, that no member of Congress could conceivably have any reason to object to taking responsibility for his own earmarks by attaching his or her name to each and every one of them, as well as the name of the beneficiary of the taxpayer largesse.

Does the Senator, in other words, agree that there is nothing, nothing, nothing inherently wrong with transparency and accountability?

Roth is liveblogging the debate at the above link.

There’s also an interesting profile on Porkbusters at National Review; as someone who’s on the email list, I can confirm that this is more or less how it’s operated in the past (although, frankly, the description of it makes it sound a lot more formal than it actually is):

Somebody alerts the blogosphere to a bit of pork-related news (often this is a government-watchdog group like Club for Growth or Citizens Against Government Waste). Maybe Reynolds or pseudonymous co-founder N.Z. Bear sends out an e-mail to the Porkbusters interest list; maybe not. In any case, bloggers who get angry about wasteful spending start pushing the story, prompting constituents to contact their representatives and attracting the attention of the mainstream media. The constituent response and media attention often give enough cover to anti-pork members of Congress that they are able to shame the porkers into voting the right way on important reform bills.

That strikes me as a pretty good model–and certainly suggests why some members would prefer that the public be less than well-informed on what they’re up to…