Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beltway Bandit Revealed

This is a thoroughly disgusting but highly revealing peek into how badly off-track the Republican leadership in Congress has taken our nation's finances. Now, after days of volunteer labor and expense put into it by liberals and conservatives alike, the full story can be told quickly and concisely.

U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-Ill) and Tom Coburn (R-Ok) introduced a bill in April (S. 2590 - "The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act") that would require full, advance disclosure of congressional "earmark" and other spending sprees to the public. It would have created a nationwide searchable internet database, bringing sunshine into the dark corners of congressional finagling of appropriations bills before they pass.

But some senator placed a "secret hold" on the bill, which under Senate rules meant it could never come up for a vote. Then, the blogosphere -- that's you and us, dear reader -- leaped into action.

The rest is history as it unfolds. Read this ("Blogosphere Unites In Pursuit of Masked Senator") from TPM Muckraker. Then this from Wonkette ("Help Catch The Secret Pig Crook") and this from Pork Busters ("Who Is the Secret Holder?").

The mystery is solved here. And the culprit admits his guilt here. He offers a risible explanation and is unrepentent.

What remains is for voters to demand of each and every one of their congressmen and senators which side they are on -- will they vote to support Senate Bill 2590, the "sunshine" bill, or cast their vote on the side with those who want to keep citizens in the dark? And there's no better time for that than now, when they're begging us for our votes.

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