Big Day for Earmark Transparency
Today’s a big day for earmark transparency.
Bill Allison just wrote up some reactions to today’s coming Senate bill, the Earmark Transparency Act (ETA).
We’ll have much more throughout the day today, but here’s the short version for now:
Sunlight has long called for more transparency around earmarks and earmark requests. In a few short years, online disclosure of earmark requests has gone from a political non-starter, to a leadership-led transparency initiative, to a State of the Union issue, to a seriously proposed new disclosure system for Congress.
This morning’s bill is cosponsored by Senators Coburn, Gillibrand, Feingold, and McCain.
Sunlight has been very much in the middle of this process, and today is a big step toward a fully transparent, accountable earmark process. Not only are Members of Congress realizing that online transparency is the right approach to addressing the earmark issue, they’re beginning to seriously pursue solving it, in a coordinated, technologically competent fashion.
UPDATE: I just got confirmation that a companion bill has been introduced in the House, more on that shortly.
UPDATE 2: The House has a very similar bill now as well, introduced just now. It’s cosponsored by Reps. Cassidy and Speier, making it a bipartisan bill in the House to match the bipartisan bill in the Senate. Here is Rep. Cassidy’s press release.
This bill builds and improves on the last Cassidy-Speier earmark measure, H.Res. 440. For a comprehensive listing of earmark reform measures from the last two Congresses, we’ve been collecting them on a Transparency Hub wiki page.
UPDATE 3: Here‘s our press release.
Also, here‘s Senator Coburn’s release, with more resources.