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Tag Archive: Earmark Watch

More than 400 Researchers Investigate Earmarks Using EarmarkWatch.org

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In the week since we launched EarmarkWatch.org, more than 400 citizen researchers have dug into earmarks, answering hundreds of questions, making dozens of comments, and shedding light on everything from what in the world is a naturally occurring retirement community (it's considered to be a low-cost approach to facilitating healthy aging) to finding a potential family connection in a New Jersey museum earmark (the museum is housed in a mansion that was once the residence of the sponsoring member's father). They've asked why Congress needs to earmark $1,000,000 to buy wool socks for the Marines and how exactly New York City's American Museum of Natural History is going to spend $1,000,000 on Advanced Research to Further National Security Goals. We had 25,000 page views last week (the aforementioned sock earmark was the most-looked-at), more than 100 posted comments or additional research (it looks like the $3,000,000 for a Flat-Rack for the Marine Corps was the most commented on, and no, I didn't know what one was either), and one last factoid that makes me feel there are lots of kindred souls out there: The bulk of our intrepid earmark researchers are doing most of their digging at night. So am I -- EarmarkWatch.org is exciting, educational, and endlessly entertaining.

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Senate Puts the Anonymity Back in Earmarks

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Wondering where the Senate Defense earmarks are in EarmarkWatch.org? Though our collaborators and friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense have compiled a list here, one thing you'll notice is that, unlike the House Defense earmarks contained in Earmark Watch, the Senate disclosures don't list the actual recipient of the earmark, but rather generic project names. So while we know that Sen. Maria Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray earmarked $2 million for "U.S. Army Extended Cold Weather Clothing System [ECWCS] Hand Protection System" (gloves, presumably), we don't know who will be making those gloves, whether the glovemaker hired lobbyists or had its executives contribute to Cantwell and Murray's campaigns, or were otherwise hand-in-glove with their earmark bestowers. That's because of a slight change in wording that was made in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, one that the Senate, apparently, prefers--and which all but does away with meaningul earmark disclosure. Read on for more details...

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