Will the Republican hypocrisy ever end? Congressional Republicans were responsible for an explosion of earmarks when they were in charge of the House. Now they are promising to go back to the same earmark agenda. From Politico – Republicans waver on earmarks ban:
…[Congressmen Boehner, Cantor, and Pence] are leaving the door open to allowing earmarks after a one-year party-imposed moratorium.
…Would-be freshmen are wary of earmarks, but the old bulls still think something resembling earmarking is important…
For the last three years, Republicans have offered nothing but rhetoric on earmark reform. Democrats have taken action to reform the earmark process, without GOP support:
Significant reductions in the total dollar amount earmarked for non-project-based accounts in appropriations –totaling 43 percent below the 2006 level in the 2008 bills, reducing further in the 2009 bills, and reducing down to 50 percent in the 2010 bills.
Unprecedented rules for transparency in 2007, requiring that each bill must be accompanied by a list identifying each earmark that it includes and which Member requested it– to be available online before the bill is ever voted on. Each House earmark on those lists is backed up by a public letter from the requesting Member identifying the earmark, the entity that will receive the funds and their address, what the earmark does, and a certification that neither the requesting member nor their spouse will benefit from it financially.
Requiring all Members’ earmark requests to be publicly disclosed in 2009 on their web sites at the time the request is made explaining the purpose of the earmark and why it is a valuable use of taxpayer funds.
House earmarks designated for for-profit entities must submit a bid and compete in a fair competition in recognition for the potential for abuse in sole-source contracting.
No earmarks to for-profit entities in 2010, as the House Appropriations Committee has announced that it will not approve requests for earmarks that are directed to for-profit entities. If this rule had been in effect last year, it would have resulted in 1,000 fewer earmarks. This committee requirement includes new oversight, through Inspector General audits, to prevent for-profits from masquerading as non-profits.
For greater transparency in 2010, the Committee is establishing an online “one-stop” link to all House Members’ appropriations earmark requests to enable the public to easily view them.
A one-year moratorium on earmarks in 2007 until a reformed process could be put in place.