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McCarthy Demands More Accountability for Spending Taxpayer Money in Government Funding Bills

Jun 12, 2007
Press Release

Washington D.C. - As the House begins work on legislation to fund the federal government for this upcoming fiscal year, House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI) announced procedures that lack public scrutiny and transparency for using taxpayer money to fund Congressional earmarks.
In response, Congressman McCarthy and a group of his colleagues plan to shine light on this lack of transparency and demand accountability. Congressman McCarthy issued the following statement:

“I made a promise to work hard to bring accountability back to Washington. And that is what I am continuing to work for.”
“This week, my colleagues will engage in a spirited debate about the earmarking process and I am confident that at the end of the day, the principle of holding Washington politicians more accountable for spending taxpayer dollars will prevail. An earmark should not be funded unless it survives the spotlight and public scrutiny of an open and transparent debate.”

As the Associated Press reported on June 3, 2007: “Rather than including specific pet project, grants and contracts in legislation as it is being written, Democrats are following an order by the House Appropriations Committee chairman to keep the bills free of such earmarks until it is too late for critics to effectively challenge them.” (AP, 6/3/07) 
Congressman Obey’s home state paper – Wisconsin State Journal – even editorialized in opposition to the tactic of Congress shutting the door on public scrutiny when spending trillions of taxpayer dollars: “Obey is now dodging the very reforms he helped to generate … His solution was to wait until the end of the lawmaking process, where earmarks would be submitted in closed-door sessions of the committee that negotiates the differences between House and Senate versions of bills. With this maneuver, Obey would enhance his own power but prevent the public and most lawmakers from questioning earmarks until it is too late.” (“Pork-barrel reform should stay on track,” 6/7/07)
Adding earmarks to spending bills behind closed doors contradicts a campaign pledge made last year when Speaker Pelosi promised to “bring transparency and openness to the budget process and use of earmarks.” (Nancy Pelosi Press Release, 12/11/06)