The other day a good friend reminded me that transparency only works if people use the information. Brian Faler of Bloomberg News does just that.
The $2 million earmarked for the Samueli Institute for Information Biology, started by Broadcom Corp. Chairman Henry Samueli and his wife Susan, was inserted into the measure by Democratic Representative Peter Visclosky. The Samueli family has contributed thousands of campaign dollars to Visclosky, whose Indiana district is nowhere near either the Alexandria, Virginia, institute or Broadcom, the Irvine, California-based maker of chips for wireless phones and other devices.
It’s a good thing that earmarks allow members meet the needs of their districts. (In fairness to Visclosky, some to the money he’s funneling to the Samueli Institute will be funneled by them to the School of Medicine Northwest of Indiana University, which is in Visclosky’s district. It’s also worth noting that stories like this are possible largely because of the new rules that the House of Representatives adopted in January, bringing more transparency to earmarks.)