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State of the Union: President Obama Wants Earmark Transparency

Obama SOTULast summer, our very successful earmarks contest brought together data about the more than 40,000 earmark requests members of Congress and senators sought during the appropriations process. We showed that the public wants a look at earmarks and a say in how taxpayer dollars get spent. Here’s our earmarks map and list.

The White House took notice, and in this Federal Computer Week article, an Office of Management and Budget spokesperson said that they would track earmarks from the request stage during the upcoming FY 2011 budget cycle.

Tonight’s state of the union speech had confirmation that the administration will press forward on transparency. In language that the White House sent me ahead of the speech, President Obama said:

I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single website before there’s a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

It’s great to see focus in an important speech on earmark transparency, and it’s a tribute to the people who made our earmarks contest a success.

Two important clarifications: A web site would be fine, but it’s more important to make the data available to web sites like ours. And if Congress doesn’t do it, the Office of Management and Budget should gather the data as it said it would.

I’m happy to report that a fact sheet put out by the White House says: “It’s time for a comprehensive, bipartisan, state-of-the-art disclosure database that allows Americans to examine the details of every proposed earmark before a vote is taken—one that is fully searchable and otherwise user-friendly.” That’s good. What we want is earmark data.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be providing the White House and the appropriations committees the data schema that we recommend they use in their earmark tracking. Hopefully, this will help them implement the president’s promise, and it will help ensure that the data is the most useful it can be.

In the meantime, congratulations to the WashingtonWatch.com earmark hunters who helped press this genuine change on our government. Thanks are due the president and White House staff for working to follow through on this promise.

Transparency like this is good legislative hygiene, and the example we set here will be picked up elsewhere in the legislative process as we continue to make the government better.

Visitor Comments for State of the Union: President Obama Wants Earmark Transparency RSS 2.0

President Obama Wants Earmark Transparency — Technology Liberation Front

[...] I’ve detailed in a WashingtonWatch.com blog post, the president called for earmark transparency in his state of the union speech tonight. A fact [...]

HD

Earmarks don’t include foreign aid. For example, this is how Obama and Biden got into office. Loans, loan forgiveness, Intelligence Committee and how being involved in foreign aid like Agriculture is, not wanting to be involved, and having a law suit in legislation as a result of being involved in foreign aid farming and ‘food security.’ The head of Agriculture now runs USAID. Other departments like HHS and Education are getting involved in foreign aid too and and will be seeing the same type of ‘domestication’ of foreign aid often earmarked to ‘friends’ through the intelligence committee.

Obama and Biden won’t cut foreign aid because that is how they got into office. He is willing to go after US corporations and banks.

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – February 1, 2010 – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] State of the Union: President Obama Wants Earmark Transparency [...]

Jean Lamb

This is one promise Obama has made that we will be able to see and review. No other promise has been kept so I hope this one is and look forward to seeing it. He didn’t say what he would do for/against the earmark or that there should not be an earmark in this economy. Will wait and see if anything actually happens on this.

Congress as Anti-Santa: Its Time to Actually Change – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] State of the Union: President Obama Wants Earmark Transparency [...]

Congress to Produce Earmark Data – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] is something President Obama called for in his 2010 State of the Union speech, though we haven’t heard much more from him about it [...]

Congress to Produce Earmark Data?

[...] and searchable database on a public website for congressional earmarks.” This is something President Obama called for in his 2010 State of the Union speech, though we haven’t heard much more from him about it since [...]

Congress to Produce Earmark Data? | Think Tank West

[...] and searchable database on a public website for congressional earmarks.” This is something President Obama called for in his 2010 State of the Union speech, though we haven’t heard much more from him about it since [...]

Congress to Produce Earmark Data? | Austrian Economics Blog

[...] and searchable database on a public website for congressional earmarks.” This is something President Obama called for in his 2010 State of the Union speech, though we haven’t heard much more from him about it since [...]

Senate Republicans to Forgo Earmarks – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] ground, because President Obama is not well positioned to use the bully pulpit against them. He has called for earmark transparency, which hasn’t happened, and he is not positioned to say that earmarks are all-of-a-sudden [...]

No, Senator Durbin, Earmarks are Not Transparent – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] this year, President Obama called for “a comprehensive, bipartisan, state-of-the-art disclosure database that allows Americans to [...]

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