Acton Institute Powerblog

A Google for Pork?

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Did you know that there is legislation in the works that would set up a databse making it possible for you and me to track how the federal government is (mis)spending our money? It is the subject of a mystery over at WSJ:

In April, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn introduced legislation that would set-up a database to track an estimated $1 trillion in federal grants, earmarks, contracts and loans. Americans would be able to perform Google-like searches to track how their tax dollars are spent — or frittered away, as the case might be. Twenty-nine Senators have co-sponsored the bill, and it’s a testament to how concerned some are about Washington’s miserable spending reputation that the list includes a who’s who of Presidential hopefuls, from Hillary Rodham Clinton to George Allen to Bill Frist.

Yet most Senators clearly have no desire to shine a light on their spending practices, and at least one — perhaps more — has placed a “secret” hold on the legislation. Normally the architects of these holds are exposed within a few legislative days, but with Congress on recess the masked spender has so far evaded capture and public scrutiny.

Cue groans of fiscal frustration.

Compare this to the round of applause recieved by former Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar when he announced at this year’s Acton U that in Estonia, every citizen can moinitor how every penny is being spent by their representatives.

David Michael Phelps


  • Roger Schweikert

    Thank God for bringing together two conscientious Senators from opposing parties to shed light on the back rooms deals and dealers in Congress.

    Similarly Comproller General David Walker, speaking before an AICPA conference today rightly called for more truth and openness in the federal budgetary process.

    Even if it is by the process of elimination, a Freedom of Information Act petition, FBI or justice probe, the lone senator or senators blocking this legislation and the conference committeemeeting on child pornography legislation should be outed.