Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CNN stays on top of Democratic hypocrisy on "openness and transparency"

CNN continues to shine the spotlight on the Democrats and their spending ways:

Despite the new Democratic congressional leadership's promise of "openness and transparency" in the budget process, a CNN survey of the House found it nearly impossible to get information on lawmakers' pet projects.

Staffers for only 31 of the 435 members of the House contacted by CNN between Wednesday and Friday of last week supplied a list of their earmark requests for fiscal year 2008, which begins on October 1, or pointed callers to Web sites where those earmark requests were posted.

Of the remainder, 68 declined to provide CNN with a list, and 329 either didn't respond to requests or said they would get back to us, and didn't. (Find out how your representative responded)

"As long as we are not required to release them, we're not going to," said Dan Turner, an aide to Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Louisiana.

Seven members of the House said they had no earmark requests...

Congresswoman Schmidt was one of the non-responders to CNN's inquiry:

Update: Jonathan San and Emily Mirengoff: Pork: Still the staple of choice for the nation’s representatives (HT: Instapundit):
...Our task was simple: to compile a list of representatives and senators who had signed Americans for Prosperity’s Earmark Transparency Pledge. Often derogatively referred to as “pork,” earmarks consist of secretive add-on projects that benefit a select group within a representative’s district.

Sponsored by four watchdog groups, including OMB Watch, the Sunlight Foundation and Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Earmark Transparency Pledge requires signatories to post a list of requested earmarks on their respective Web sites. Such postings would include the names, addresses and locations of the projects, as well as the amount of funding requested, the purpose of the earmark and a guarantee that the representative does not personally benefit from it.

Since there are Examiner branches in San Francisco, Baltimore and Washington, we called representatives from California, Maryland and Virginia to see who was really willing to commit to earmark transparency.

This seemed relatively easy, because all we needed was a yes-or-no answer from the representatives’ press secretaries. We figured we would spend no more than a few hours to make all the calls and get the information.

Instead, we found ourselves getting the runaround, the D.C. equivalent of driving around Dupont Circle and passing the same Starbucks a hundred times. Every call we made was met with the same response, each with a slight variation: “The press secretary just stepped out; can I connect you to his voicemail?” “She’s actually on her lunch break right now; would you like to leave a message?” “He’s not here right now, would you like his voicemail?” And, our personal favorite, “Sorry, he’s on vacation.”...



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