DownsizeDC.org
September 5, 2006
Just what are the Porkers up to?
By Jim Babka
Today's message is an Action Item.

Big Government politicians spend our money on a ton of things. It takes experts to discover how they spent our money. And even then, we get only a partial understanding of how it was spent long after the vote was held.

What if we knew precisely who was getting the checks?

Shouldn't government be more transparent? ...more accountable?

Thomas Jefferson had something to say about that:

We might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant's books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them. Our predecessors have endeavored by intricacies of system and shuffling the investigation over from one office to another, to cover everything from detection. I hope we shall go in the contrary direction, and that, by our honest and judicious reformation, we may be able . . .  to bring things back to that simple and intelligible system on which they should have been organized at first.

It almost sounds like Jefferson would've endorsed The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590). This bill creates a free, searchable database on the web where you can see what the government is doing with your tax dollars. It will answer the Who, What, Where, and How: Who is getting the money? ...for what purpose? Where will it be spent - in which county, state, Congressional District? How much will they receive? All recipients of federal funding, from big corporations to non-profit groups to state and local governments, will be in the database.

What a tool this will be. Any citizen, any talk show host, any watchdog would demand that the government do as Rod Tidwell said in the movie Jerry Maquire: "Show me the Money!"  

Amazingly, most of the Senate is ready to vote for this bill. But one Senator, Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, who infamously put on a hissy fit to defend the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, has put a hold on the transparency bill. His hold keeps the bill from being adopted by Unanimous Consent, and that means a cloture vote and 30 hours of debate. With a ton of last minute budget work and only 15 legislative days available before the Senate breaks to return home and campaign for re-election, the Senate Majority Leader is hesitant to schedule a 30 hour debate on this issue.

We can pass this bill. We expect it to pass with overwhelming, bipartisan support. But we need to apply some pressure to get that vote to occur.

First, send a message to your Senators encouraging them to do all they can to support this bill, including persuade Senator Stevens to lift the hold. They can do that and they should. Click here to send a message.  

Second, call Senator Stevens and tell him to lift his hold. Frankly, we don't even care if you live in Alaska! I plan to call. Senator Stevens is basically vetoing a bill of national importance so he should hear from the nation because chances are your Senator will vote to pass it. But if you live in Alaska, it's extra important that you call. Tell Senator Stevens to let this bill have a, "fair up or down vote." Here's the Senator's phone number:  202-224-3004

Finally, help us spread the word. This issue has been very hot in the blogosphere. If you're acquainted with a blogger who is discussing this issue, please leave a comment or contact the host directly telling them about this new campaign at DownsizeDC.org.

Again, here's the link to our new campaign, Show me the Money! 

Let's get Congress to show us the money they're spending and the favors they're dispensing.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
Blog commenting is currently under construction. In the meantime, you can send an email if there's something you'd like to tell us.

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