Add Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas to the list of members who publish information on their earmark requests. That brings the grand total to six, which isn’t exactly overwhelming. Brady’s list is here; he also says this about earmarks:
Sometimes, when out-of-touch bureaucrats think they know better than local communities, the only recourse left is to direct the federal government to act. Unfortunately, these “earmarks” have exploded in number and cost over the years. Some are snuck into bills without public scrutiny, others are plain outrageous to taxpayers, especially with America’s large budget deficit.
These local project requests need to be reformed: requested in full view of the public, in moderation, and ideally within a balanced federal budget.
Taxpayers are smart. I believe you have the right to know and to weigh the value of projects or earmarks that I request on your behalf. Listed below are the projects I have requested in the 2007 Appropriations process. These are by no means all the requests our office receives from local agencies and organization, but are the highest priorities this year. (emphasis added)
How hard would it be to set up a public Web site through which groups would communicate their requests for earmarks to members of Congress? Absent the online application for an earmark (conveniently collected in a searchable database), a group–whether it’s a company or a community center–wouldn’t be eligible to receive federal funds.