PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: With earmarks, sometimes the news is what you can’t find out:
Earmarks like the infamous $223 million â€œBridge to Nowhereâ€ in Alaska are getting lots of public attention these days but The Examiner recently found that uncovering simple facts about them can be nearly impossible.
When we asked questions about three earmarks worth millions of dollars given to local recipients, nobody seemed to know how the earmarks started or which member of Congress was responsible for them.
One thing we did find out â€” members of Congress arenâ€™t the only beneficiaries because federal agencies also get a cut â€” 10 percent of the total â€” on many earmarks. . . .
Drilling deep into the OMB database, The Examiner randomly selected three earmarks that went to local firms, and then attempted to establish their paternity. We might as well have asked Coke for its formula.
I think that every single thing in legislation — not just spending — should be traceable to a member. In an elective legislative body, “diffusion of responsibility” is not a feature.
Meanwhile, here’s a roundup of information sources that the public can use to find out, well, whatever they’ll let you find out.