Home

Blog

Recently Visited

  • Getting bills...

News, Commentary, and What to Watch on WashingtonWatch.com Blog Feed

No, Senator Durbin, Earmarks are Not Transparent

Durbin Earmarks 2010Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) doesn’t seem to know what transparency is.

This morning the full Senate voted down a proposed rule that would have barred earmarks for the next two years. Part of the reason? Earmarks are transparent.

Here’s Senator Durbin, quoted in a Hill article:

“There is full disclosure in my office of every single request for an appropriation. We then ask those who have made the requests to have a full disclaimer of their involvement in the appropriation, so it’s there for the public record. This kind of transparency is virtually unprecedented.”

Take a look at Senator Durbin’s earmark disclosures. Yes, you can read through them, one by one. But can you make a list of recipients? Can you add up the totals? Can you search for common words in the brief explanations for each earmark? Can you make a map showing where recipients of Senator Durbin’s requests are?

No, no, no, and no.

That’s because Senator Durbin puts his request disclosure out as scanned PDFs. Someone on his staff takes a letter and puts it on a scanner, making a PDF document of the image. It’s totally useless if you want to use the data for anything. Notably, he doesn’t even include the addresses of his earmark recipients.

Last year, WashingtonWatch.com’s visitors laboriously took earmark disclosures like Senator Durbin’s and gathered the data from them. Now—because of their work—you can see a map of Illinois earmarks and the list of Senator Durbin’s requests for FY 2010.

Early this year, President Obama called 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.” He wasn’t talking about WashingtonWatch.com—he was talking about Congress putting this database together.

Earlier this year, we worked with a small group of transparency activists to show Congress how to do earmark transparency. Earmarkdata.org has our earmark data schema—the guide to producing earmark information in a way the public can use. (Please sign the petition supporting earmark transparency.)

No, Senator Durbin, your earmarks are not transparent. We’re producing the state-of-the-art database. We’re setting the precedent for transparency. Your PDF-image disclosures are a day late and a dollar short.

Below are the votes on the earmark moratorium taken in the Senate this morning. A “No” vote supports continuation of earmarking. A “Yes” vote is opposed to earmarking.

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Yea Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Begich (D-AK), Nay Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Yea
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Nay Pryor (D-AR), Nay
California: Boxer (D-CA), Not Voting Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Colorado: Bennet (D-CO), Yea Udall (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Nay Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Delaware: Carper (D-DE), Nay Coons (D-DE), Nay
Florida: LeMieux (R-FL), Yea Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Yea Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Nay Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Idaho: Crapo (R-ID), Yea Risch (R-ID), Yea
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Nay Kirk (R-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Yea Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Not Voting Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Yea McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Nay Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Nay Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Nay Mikulski (D-MD), Not Voting
Massachusetts: Brown (R-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Nay Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Minnesota: Franken (D-MN), Nay Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Not Voting McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Nay Tester (D-MT), Nay
Nebraska: Johanns (R-NE), Yea Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Yea Reid (D-NV), Nay
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Yea Shaheen (D-NH), Not Voting
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Nay Udall (D-NM), Nay
New York: Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay Schumer (D-NY), Nay
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Yea Hagan (D-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Nay Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Nay Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Yea Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Merkley (D-OR), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Nay
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Nay Specter (D-PA), Nay
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Nay Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Yea Graham (R-SC), Yea
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Nay Thune (R-SD), Yea
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Yea Corker (R-TN), Yea
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Yea Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Nay Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Nay Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Virginia: Warner (D-VA), Yea Webb (D-VA), Nay
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Nay Murray (D-WA), Nay
West Virginia: Manchin (D-WV), Nay Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Nay
Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Yea Enzi (R-WY), Yea

Visitor Comments for No, Senator Durbin, Earmarks are Not Transparent RSS 2.0

WashingtonWatch.com Digest – December 6, 2010 – The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[...] No, Senator Durbin, Earmarks are Not Transparent [...]

“No, Senator Durbin, Earmarks are Not Transparent” | Rise of the Center

[...] Read on at the Washington Watch Blog ยป [...]

Add Comment


Comments are limited to 1,000 characters. Please do other visitors the courtesy of expressing yourself concisely. WashingtonWatch.com bears no responsibility for comments nor any obligation to publish them. Comments that are impolite, off-topic, violations of others' rights, or advertisements are likely to be removed.