Citizens Track Lawmaker Earmark Requests


Some 76 members of Congress provide at least some disclosure of their fiscal year 2009 earmark requests online, citizen researchers have found. The majority posted their requests to their official congressional Web sites while 11 disclosed their earmark requests directly to the media–a complete list is available here.

We also learned that 46 members of Congress have foregone earmarks for fiscal year 2009. Ten members of Congress told researchers they will not disclose their earmark requests to the public, preferring to keep their constituents in the dark. Those are the findings of a collaborative study by citizen journalists organized by the Sunlight Foundation, and joined by our friends at Citizens Against Government Waste and Taxpayers for Common Sense — thanks to both organizations for their help.

To create more transparency about the earmarking process, we asked citizens to call their members of Congress and ask if they’d voluntarily disclose their fiscal year 2009 earmark requests. Sunlight has the full list, we’ll update it if more members release their earmark requests.

In the meantime, you can peruse the list to see who requested $5,000,000 for Archer Daniels Midland to evaluate solid fats in the American diet, who asked for a $15 million earmark for defense contractors L3 Titan Group, MBDA, Raytheon and Boeing, or who requested some $300,000 to fix a parking garage in Punta Gorda, Fla. An important note: These members had the integrity to inform the public of what there spending requests were — we can question their priorities and criticize their choices, but we should acknowledge their openness.

There are 413 members who don’t want you to know what they’re asking for, who don’t want any criticism of their choices. They’re the ones who deserve the most criticism.