Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Mr. Scot

Insight into the "earmark ban"

Recommended Posts

Mr. Scot    34,532

From those right wing bastards over at the Associated Press.

AP IMPACT: Lobbyists skirt Obama's earmark ban

One of the more oft-used items out of both the Democratic and the Republican bag of tricks is the "headline grabber", i.e. the splashy move that makes a lot of people take notice, but that isn't quite all it seems.

It works something like this:

1 - make a big, bold, public move or statement

2 - leave an "out" or a "loophole" in the minute details

3 - hope nobody notices

It's based in the notion that Americans often only read the headlines and either skim over or entirely ignore the details. With attention spans shorter than ever these days, it generally works.

However, there are still folks who examine the details.

President Barack Obama's ban on earmarks in the $825 billion economic stimulus bill doesn't mean interest groups, lobbyists and lawmakers won't be able to funnel money to pet projects.

They're just working around it — and perhaps inadvertently making the process more secretive.

The projects run the gamut: a Metrolink station that needs building in Placentia, Calif.; a stretch of beach in Sandy Hook, N.J., that could really use some more sand; a water park in Miami.

There are thousands of projects like those that once would have been gotten money upfront but now are left to scramble for dollars at the back end of the process as "ready to go" jobs eligible for the stimulus plan.

The result, as The Associated Press learned in interviews with more than a dozen lawmakers, lobbyists and state and local officials, is a shadowy lobbying effort that may make it difficult to discern how hundreds of billions in federal money will be parceled out.

"'No earmarks' isn't a game-ender," said Peter Buffa, former mayor of Costa Mesa, Calif. "It just means there's a different way of going about making sure the funding is there."

Instead, the money will be doled out according to arcane formulas spelled out in the bill and in some cases based on the decisions of Obama administration officials, governors and state and local agencies that will choose the projects.

"Somebody's going to earmark it somewhere," said Howard Marlowe, a consultant for a coalition working to preserve beaches.

Lobbyists are hard at work figuring out ways to grab a share of the money for their clients, but the new rules mean they're doing so indirectly — and sometimes in ways that are impossible to track.

Not exactly what I'd call greater transparency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites




Zod    14,969

Obama, who campaigned promising a more transparent and accountable government, is advocating a system that will eventually let the public track exactly where stimulus money goes through an Internet-powered search engine. In addition, Democratic lawmakers have devised an elaborate oversight system, including a new board to review how the money is spent.

I guess you guys can't give Obama 6 months to change a system decades in the making?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fiz    878

Obama, who campaigned promising a more transparent and accountable government, is advocating a system that will eventually let the public track exactly where stimulus money goes through an Internet-powered search engine. In addition, Democratic lawmakers have devised an elaborate oversight system, including a new board to review how the money is spent.

But none of that will happen until after the bill becomes law.

you mean nothing will change before the bill is passed?

I AM OUTRAGED

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites




Zod    14,969

You want to wait 6 months before a system can be devised and implemented to intact a stimulus package?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fiz    878

remember when Obama said he'd get his daughters a puppy?

heh, where's your change now?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mr. Scot    34,532

I guess you guys can't give Obama 6 months to change a system decades in the making?

Next two paragraphs.

But none of that will happen until after the bill becomes law. Even critics of the earmarks system acknowledge that specifying projects upfront offers some measure of transparency.

"We hate earmarks, but at least it's a way of tracking where influence is had," said Keith Ashdown of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. "There is a challenge now that projects will be added behind closed doors without a paper trail."

Point being that while he campaigned on transparency, he's putting a system in place that will actually make it tougher to track these things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zod    14,969

Next two paragraphs.

Point being that while he campaigned on transparency, he's putting a system in place that will actually make it tougher to track these things.

Because that is the intended outcome or because lobbyists will always find a loophole in something that has to be thrown together in a week?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×