Bennet: Washington Should Make Earmark Process More Transparent, Accountable to American People

Backs Bipartisan Bill to Create Single, Searchable Database of All Congressional Earmark Requests

Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today joined a bipartisan push in the Senate to bring much needed transparency to the federal appropriations process. The Earmark Transparency Act of 2010 mirrors Bennet’s Plan for Washington Reform, which calls for the creation of a single, user-friendly online database that would allow citizens to sort, search and download information on all congressional earmark requests.

The Earmark Transparency Act of 2010 was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

“The people of Colorado deserve a government that is accountable to them,” Bennet said. “I have no issue with members of Congress fighting for projects they think are valuable for their state or for their district. But this funding should be done in the light of day, completely transparent for the American people to see.”

The Earmark Transparency Act of 2010 mirrors Bennet’s Plan for Washington Reform that would provide more transparency and accountability in the earmarking process. Under Bennet’s plan, Members of Congress would be required to post every earmark request they receive and every request they make for funding at earmarks.gov. Bennet’s plan for earmark reform also includes:

  • Banning earmarks to private, for-profit companies and institutions.
  • Holding Members of Congress accountable for earmark requests
    • All earmark requests above $1 million should go before the Appropriations Committee
  • Holding earmark recipients accountable
    • Each year, a certain percent of all earmarks would be audited to ensure that taxpayer money is being spent wisely.
    • These reports should be made public on earmarks.gov

To read more on Bennet’s pledge to make all earmark requests received by his office public, click here.

Currently, all of Bennet’s funding requests are online, and he will continue to submit new requests as they are made. Bennet’s Appropriations web page also features all requests received by his office but not submitted to the Appropriations Committee. The site can be found at http://bennet.senate.gov/approps/.