A coalition of lobbyists and good government advocates today released 5 principles for reforming how Congress grants earmark requests. The principles call upon Congress to:
- Impose a limit on earmarks directed to campaign contributors
- ban congressional staff from participating in fundraising
- Build an earmarks database (structured along the lines of the database called for in the Earmark Transparency Act)
- Require GAO to conduct random earmark audits
- Require Members of Congress to certify that earmark recipients are qualified to handle earmarks
The coalition is composed of Melanie Sloan from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Rich Gold of Holland and Knight, Tom Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste, Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, Craig Holman of Public Citizen, and former Representatives James Walsh.
The Sunlight Foundation has long called for improving transparency in the earmark process. As my colleague Lisa Rosenberg wrote after a Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on the Earmark Transparency Act, “a single database of earmark requests is an idea whose time has come.”