Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Examiner Eyes Earmarks

The Examiner newspaper is engaging in a useful exercise of "citizen journalism." In an article titled, "Is Congress Spending Your Money in Secret?," the newspaper points out that Congress is considering a Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations measure that presently contains 1,867 special earmarks that represent more than a half billion tax dollars.

The Examiner has created a database listing the earmarks for each state. Here are the earmarks for Maryland. While there don't appear to be any "bridges to nowhere," they are certainly worth eyeing closely. And here's where the "citizen journalism" exercise comes in: The Examiner is asking readers to check out the earmarks by calling their own congressperson and also the recipient institutions and asking pointed questions about sponsorship of the mark and its purpose.

Sounds like a worthwhile endeavor in citizen oversight of Congress. Since it is the taxpayers who foot the bill, there are a lot worse ways to spend the dog days of August than dogging Congress on its undisciplined spending habits.