the ETA would require Congress to do just what Obama suggested by establishing a publicly available database with key details about all proposed earmarks, including the congressional sponsor, the sponsor's letter requesting the earmark and all supporting documents, identity of the recipient, the amount proposed, the purpose of the earmark, the amount approved in committee and the final amount approved by Congress.
Personally, I think that a better act would be one that prohibits earmarks at all. Earmarks are a corrupt version of reverse political bribery in which Senators and Congressmen give money to constituents outside of the normal budgetary process. They also have the end result of producing "campaign contributions" or other financial kickbacks. The Congressman from West Virginia who recenlty lost his primary election and his father made their family very wealthy through this process...as have many, many others over the years. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma,
who has long called earmarks the "gateway drug to federal spending addiction," says the ETA is an essential reform because Americans "want the practice of trading votes for earmarks to end and they want the process of trading campaign dollars for earmarks to end. From Bridges to Nowhere to the Cornhusker Kickback, Americans are tired of Washington using hard-earned taxpayer funding on items that fall short of urgent national priorities, and they want to lift the shroud of secrecy over how spending decisions are made."
It's time to end this game now, not just make it public. Congress should amend this act to ban the process completely.