Help Control Earmarks – and Win an Amazon Kindle!
Earmarks – they’re how members of Congress and senators steer federal funds to special interests and projects in their districts. It’s often called “pork barrel” spending because the money is divided up based on seniority and insider deals rather than the general welfare of the country.
Here’s an update on the progress of the contest!
For years now, earmarking has been conducted behind the scenes, but the House and Senate recently required their membership to reveal earmark requests. The door to the smoke-filled room has been unlocked, and now we’re going to kick it down!
The problem is that earmark information is spread out across congressional Web sites, and it’s in many different formats. The solution? We’ve created a system for compiling earmark data in one place—actually, for you to compile it.
We want you to add earmarks to our database through our earmark entry form. Pick your hometown member of Congress or Senator, your favorite representative—or your least favorite—and put their earmarks in the database.
We’ve put together some tips and tricks that will help you quickly and easily enter those earmarks!
As we collect it, we’re going to make this information available to anyone who wants it—other Web sites, reporters, and researchers. Everyone in the country will be able to see who requests earmarks and where these taxpayer dollars go. (Take a look at the earmarks we’ve already collected!)
Sorting through earmarks to put them in the database isn’t the easiest thing you’ll ever do, but you will be a transparency hero for doing it, and we’re also going to sweeten the deal with some recognition and prizes!
To the person who enters the most earmarks, we’ll give an Amazon Kindle! (6″ diagonal E Ink version) It’s the slim, lightweight, wireless way to read stuff!
We’ll give an iPod Shuffle to the person who enters the second highest number of earmarks.
And to third place we’ll give a delicious Regular Deluxe Fruitcake!
Any prize can be collected in cash of equivalent value. (What – you don’t like fruitcake?)
Be sure to keep reading! Contests have rules, and this is a contest.
No account or login is needed to enter earmarks in the database, but to have your earmark entries counted for the contest, you must have a WashingtonWatch.com account and be logged in to that account. You can get your free account here. (Note: If you see “log out” in the upper right hand corner of the page, that means you’re logged in. If you see “log in” that means you’re logged out. Got it? Check regularly!)
The contest ends and the prizes will be awarded when all earmark requests are collected or at the beginning of the federal government’s 2010 fiscal year (October 1, 2009), whichever comes first.
Earmarks that are incomplete, improperly entered, or that duplicate previously entered earmarks will not be counted. Overwriting a pre-existing earmark will not award credit to the person overwriting the earlier earmark. We will check your work.
If you enter all earmarks for a member or senator, let us know. We’ll thank you and link to your site or organization on our blog.
Be sure to read the instructions on the Earmark Entry Form carefully. You will save yourself and us time. If after reviewing the instructions, you can’t figure out how to deal with something, do contact us with questions, and we will try to respond quickly.