Monday, October 27, 2008

operation fake candor

Like Sen. Obama, Sen. Bennett released his earmark requests today. And good for him. Obama did it last year because he was planning on running for president as a "change/reform" candidate, whereas Bennett got confused:
But what instigated the public disclosure had much more to do with a miscommunication than any change of heart.
A member of the powerful appropriations committee that oversees earmarks, Bennett declined repeated requests for an interview, deciding instead to speak through his spokeswoman Tara Hendershott.
She said Bennett released the names because he was told by defense subcommittee staffers that they also were going to make the information public.
"Sen. Bennett's office policy has always been to follow the practices of the subcommittee," Hendershott said.
But then the subcommittee staff didn't follow through, reverting to the standard practice of leaving the decision up to each senator.
About half the senators release the intended recipients of earmarks and half do not. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch does name names in his releases, as does Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
House members don't have a choice. By rule, they must disclose the company names.
Why Senators get to hide who they are giving our tax dollars to, I don't know. Maybe I should ask former Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ted Stevens, but he is a bit busy awaiting the jury verdict on his criminal trial.

This, and the rule that only Senators can disclose their campaign contributions in paper form so that they are not searchable until weeks after the filing deadline are rules that need to change to clean up the Senate next year.

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