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New Earmark Transparency Rules

January 7, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Yesterday, Democrats and Republicans in Congress announced new rules designed to increase disclosure of the earmarks that lawmakers request in the annual appropriations bills. The rules would require the earmark information to be available on lawmakers’ individual websites, early in the appropriations process, with an explanation of the earmark’s purpose and why they should be funded with taxpayer money. All would definitely improve the current system.

But Bill Allison on the Sunlight Foundation blog and Taxpayers for Common Sense have suggested a few ways that the new rules could be improved. Basically, the rules should specify a data format for lawmakers to use in disclosing their earmark requests, and, in addition to being spread across the 535 MoC’s websites, the information should be collected in one searchable, downloadable database. “Let’s first make sure that Congress gets the basic disclosure done properly, and then we–along with other groups and individuals–would be happy to find ways to add value to it, allowing for citizen input, cross-referencing with other data, and all kinds of other tools,” said Allison.

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  • Moderated Comment

  • Anonymous 01/07/2009 5:03pm

    The word is that the new earmark disclosure rules are stronger than first thought. The information that lawmakers post has to include the amount of money they are asking for, who benefits and other data. Also, if the lawmaker doesn’t put it on their website, the appropriations committee will not provide any information for their projects.

  • Anonymous 01/08/2009 4:36pm


  • j_schmoe 10/19/2011 11:26am

    Sounds like a good plan.

    JS from XBox 360 Repair

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