US Defense Budget FY08: Earmark Database Created
Earmarks involve designating funds in spending legislation that must be used for a very particular purpose. While they can be a useful tool, they can also be a magnet for shady dealings and last-minute surprises. Indicted Naval ace and former Congressman Randy Cunningham’s activities revolved around earmarks, for instance; so, too, did the recent scandal that revolves around Congressman Jack Murtha. Past US national defense budgets have included everything from renovations to Washington’s baseball stadium (based on the standings, a donation to hire players might have been better), to Utah watershed conservation, to the initial funding that got the famous Predator UAVs going.
In anticipation of the House floor debate on the 2008 defense appropriations bill, a group called Taxpayers for Common Sense has just posted a database of all the bill’s disclosed earmarks – including dollar amounts, which the chart in the bill’s official report happened to leave out. The recent Congressional “Ethics” bill eviscerates many recent transparency reforms, but to the extent that information is being made available, readers can find the database and summary at TCS.
The group is also working on an update that will list the earmark recipients named in the required disclosure letters. See also “House FY 2008 Defense Budget Earmarks: Excerpts” for our coverage and background/explanation for the defense earmarks highlighted in a previous TCS press release.