Save Our Democracy

One of the most important organizations to be formed in your lifetime has just won their first victory. Join the Sunlight Foundation now.

I first noticed how arrogant and unaccountable our legislators had become when I tried to contact Wisconsin Senator Kohl about a child support matter. His staff does not answer the phone in his Washington Office. You receive a recorded message telling you to contact his Milwaukee office. I did so. A bored staff person named Rebbecca listened to my story, sent out a release of info form and after we sent it back, became unavailable every time we called the office. After 6 months of no response I asked to see Sen. Kohl himself next time he came to Milwaukee. I was told I would be contacted by "the scheduler" who would do a background check on me and then decide if I was important enough to be allowed an audience with His Lordship. I was never even contacted by the scheduler.

Kohl is a multimillionaire who gets elected because the voters love rich people and he can outspend anyone who challenges him. I gag when I see his slick TV ads with his slogan "nobody's senator but yours" I know he is "Nobody's" senator, period.

The Sunlight foundation has been successful in passing a bill that will allow us to view all the contracts given out by the US, see who receives them, and how much money they were given. Read from their blog as follows:
Written by Paul Blumenthal on September 14, 2006 - 6:23pm.
Read more: Earmark Reform | Earmarks (see all terms)
Well, it looked like the paltry earmark reform measure wouldn't pass earlier today, but pass it did. By a vote of 245-171 congressmen approved a measure that will shine some light onto some earmarks. As expected Republican appropriators voted against the measure along with the majority of Democrats who called the measure too little, too late. The Associated Press lede shows that the Congress has not exactly fulfilled their promises to enact sweeping ethics and lobbying legislation, "The House is taking a modest step to bring into the open special projects lawmakers slip into legislation, seemingly abandoning more ambitious plans to clean up lawmaker relations with lobbyists." Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has asked the chair and ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee to come up with a similar rule as the House earmark reform rule.

continue reading more on Sunlight or Paul Blumenthal's blog

Written by Ellen Miller on September 12, 2006 - 12:30pm.
Read more: Earmarks (see all terms)
I am sorry that neither Brad Blumer of The New Republic nor Ezra Klein the American Prospect seem to really "get" the problem with earmarks. It's not that earmarks are bad - it's that they are never subjected to scrutiny, that they are part of the underbelly of the Congressional process that never sees the light of day, that there's no opportunity for the public - much less Members of Congress - to evaluate them. It's fundamentally undemocratic for a single member of Congress to allocate money without scrutiny of his colleagues and the public. The process stinks.

Now Sunlight is offering bounties for voters who can get their legislator to post their daily schedule on their official web page.

Go here and stand in the Sunlight.


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