Secret Pork Plot Thickens
As we mentioned yesterday, there's a lone pork-slobberin' senator who is secretly holding up a government transparency law.
Only 27 senators were "in the clear" at that time, but shocking new information has pushed that number up to 33 ... which is still pretty pathetic.
GOP Progress editor Liz Mair says Sens. Susan Collins, Gordon Smith, Norm Coleman, Olympia Snowe and Bob Bennett can now be added to the list of the Innocent, and Lamar Alexander is almost in the clear. More names and theories after the jump ....
For the average citizen, trying to see how the federal government spends money can be a baffling experience. Even journalists and think tankers, who are supposed to specialize in government oversight, have trouble getting a handle on the massive volume of cash that flows from federal coffers. The main reason for this is that there's currently no system for assimilating, organizing, and releasing information on the hundreds of billions of tax dollars that are spent each year on federal grants and contracts. This lack of disclosure is absurd.
Staffers on Capitol Hill are calling the proposed database a "Google-like tool for federal accountability." For the first time, it would shed some light on which companies and organizations are receiving federal money, and how much they are getting. A tool like this is a dream come true for budget hawks. Louis Brandeis famously observed that "sunlight is the best disinfectant" -- and nothing needs disinfecting like the festering federal budget.
So far, the bill's co-sponsors have been given a pass, because what kind of scumbag would co-sponsor a government-spending transparency bill and then secretly block it?
Oh right, we are talking about senators!
The sponsors and co-sponsors are Coburn, Obama, Carper, McCain, Santorum, DeMint, Sununu, Isakson, Macaca, Cornyn, Hillary, Frist, Collins, Vinegar Joe, Kerry, Alexander, Coleman, Reid, Durbin, Thune, Sessions, Voinovich, Boxer, McConnell, Dewine, Landrieu, Vitter, Chambliss and some guy called "Evan Bayh."
And so far, only Durbin, Landrieu, McCain, Coleman, Allen, Cornyn, DeMint, Santorum, Clinton, Voinovich and Sessions have officially denied putting the secret hold on the bill. (Coburn and Obama are presumably clear because they actually introduced the legislation.) So 16 "co-sponsors" remain suspects.
A patriot and Wonkette informant writes:
I did my duty in Missouri, and these were the staffers' responses:We need S. 2590. So won't the secret holder please stand up? [GOP Progress]
Sen. Bond has yet to make a formal comment on the bill.
Sen. Talent is home while the Senate is on recess and his staff knows nothing about nothing.
PS: Sen. Bond's staffer -- very nice. Talent's -- not so nice.
Fresh air fund [National Review]
RELATED: Help Catch the Secret Pig Crook!
-- KEN LAYNE