The following is cross-posted at www.fiscalaccountability.org.
By 5 pm on Saturday, April 4, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives were required to have published their Earmark requests on their official websites. Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation has posted an in-depth review of each member’s disclosure. Despite the deadline it appears that this attempt at transparency leaves something to be desired:
On 116 Web pages, I couldn’t find any earmark disclosures.[…]As I suspected, the disclosures are useless if you want to aggregate them for the entire House. Some members posted unreadable pdfs. Some posted charts. Some have press releases for every single earmark, others have downloadable Word documents. Some members posted the complete request letters, others posted the bare minimum amount of information.
Sunlight has compiled a list of how each member has chosen (or not chosen) to disclose their earmarks. The results paint a clear picture of the opacity that defines the earmarking process. There is an utter lack of consistency and accountability in the publication of earmark requests—frustrating to be sure, but hardly surprising.
Of particular note were the members of the Appropriations Committee who refused to publish their earmark requests. Reps. Chet Edwards (D-Tx.), Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), Nita Lowey(D-N.Y.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), and Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Fla.) all failed to meet the deadline.
Sunlight Projects also posted a spreadsheet cataloguing the extent and manner of each member’s earmark disclosure as well.