September 1, 2006

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CHICAGO TRIBUNE: “Busted by the bloggers:”

To the right of the masthead at the Web site porkbusters.org is a quote attributed to former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott: “I’ll just say this about the so-called porkbusters. I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them.”

Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) are probably damn tired of hearing from them too, but taxpayers ought to listen up–and applaud. The porkbusters led a pack of bloggers who outed the two senators for bottling up a bill meant to help the public track how its tax dollars are spent. . . .

When they were caught, Stevens and Byrd offered lots of blather about why they were preventing taxpayers from finding out how their money is spent.

Byrd’s office said he just wanted to slow things down so the bill could get a thorough and open debate. Stevens’ staffers said he was concerned about the cost, and he wanted a cost-benefit analysis and assurances that the database wouldn’t create more bureaucracy and blah blah blah. Stevens could have brought all this up while the bill was in committee, but he skipped those hearings.

A more likely motivation: Stevens was mad because Coburn had tried to block a $223 million appropriation for Alaska’s infamous “bridge to nowhere” that Stevens inserted in last year’s federal highway bill.

It’s a good day for taxpayers and the bloggers who got to the truth. And a bad day for secrecy in the U.S. Senate.

Indeed.

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