Requirements matter: Just 83 members disclosed transportation earmark requests


Apparently, deadlines do matter. Just 83 House members disclosed their earmark requests for the upcoming transportation reauthorization bill (that last version, SAFETEA-LU, was loaded with Prairie Parkway and Bridge to Nowhere–both of which were earmarks) on the same day that they submitted them to the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

Rep. James Oberstar, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, didn’t require members to disclose their earmark requests online in the same way that the House Appropriations Committee does. The latter requires members to post all their earmark requests online before they submit them to the committee for consideration — at least 321 members met the deadline.

Members had to submit their requests to Oberstar’s committee on May 14, but, as Adam Hughes explains, Oberstar didn’t issue a deadline for them to be disclosed to the public. Last night, my colleagues Paul Blumenthal, Avelino Maestas, Josh Ruihley and Nisha Thompson joined Anu and me in a search for members who disclosed their earmark requests to the public at the same time they gave them to the committee (you can see our tweeting here). We clicked and scrolled and clicked and scrolled through 433 member sites, looking for disclosures. (We finished up around 11 p.m., and my thanks, by the way, to all who participated — this project kind of defines scut work, and the gusto with which developers, outreachers, editors and writers attacked it was a pleasure to see. What a great group to be a part of.)

There’s a database of the links to requests we found here, and you download the same in an excel format here. Not sure if we’ll keep looking for these over the weekend, but if we do, check for #wheremark on Twitter.