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Re: [govtrack] the earmark challenge

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  • TML
    hehe...gee, d ya think?
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 23, 2006
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      hehe...gee, d'ya think?



      On Nov 23, 2006, at 07:42, Aron Pilhofer wrote:

      > If I didn't know better, I'd say it's as if they didn't want you to
      > know
      > where the money is going.
      >
      > Chris Kinnan wrote:
      >>
      >> A staffer on Capitol Hill forwarded this, it speaks to the challenge
      >> we face in forcing disclosure and uncovering corruption in
      >> the Congressional spending process. Thought it would interest folks.
      >> And, Happy Thanksgiving!
      >> ---
      >> Here is just one example of the trickery that goes into hiding
      >> earmarks in appropriations bills and the hours of detective work
      >> necessary to find basic information about how tax dollars are being
      >> spent by Congress:
      >>
      >> The Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 Agriculture Appropriations bill contains a
      >> $2,009,878 earmark for a "seafood waste" project in Fairbanks,
      >> Alaska.
      >>
      >> Neither the bill nor its accompanying report contains a
      >> description of
      >> the purpose of this project, its intended goals or the actual amount
      >> of the earmark.
      >>
      >> The purpose and actual amount of this earmark is a "hide and seek"
      >> exercise that requires extensive detective work.
      >>
      >> The earmark is contained within a list of "Program Continuations" in
      >> the bill report, which states "the Committee directs the Agricultural
      >> Research Service to continue to fund the following areas of research
      >> in fiscal year 2007 at the same funding level recommended in fiscal
      >> year 2006."
      >>
      >> The FY 2006 Agriculture appropriations conference report states that
      >> "The conference agreement includes increased funding in fiscal year
      >> 2006 to expand" the seafood waste earmark project by $75,000. The
      >> report again does not state what the purpose of the research is or
      >> what the total amount of the earmark is.
      >>
      >> The Joint Explanatory Statement for the FY 2005 Consolidated
      >> Appropriations Act published in the Congressional Record states a
      >> "further increase" is provided for "Seafood Waste, Fairbanks, AK
      >> (U of
      >> AK), $160,000 (of which $50,000 goes to the State of Alaska)."[1]
      >> Again, the actual amount and purpose are not provided.
      >>
      >> Going back a year earlier, a "further increase" of $180,000 is
      >> provided for "Seafood Waste, Fairbanks, AK (U of AK)" in the FY 2004
      >> Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations bill.[2]
      >>
      >> The FY 2003 Consolidated appropriations bill report states,"The
      >> conferees have agreed to increased funding for… Seafood Waste,
      >> Fairbanks, AK" by $200,000.[3]
      >>
      >> The term "seafood waste" does not appear in the FY 2002 Agriculture
      >> appropriations conference report. The conference report does,
      >> however, state:
      >>
      >> "The statement of the managers remains silent on provisions that were
      >> in both the House and Senate bills that remain unchanged by this
      >> conference agreement, except as noted in this statement of the
      >> managers. … The House and Senate report language that is not changed
      >> by the conference is approved by the committee of conference. The
      >> statement of the managers, while repeating some report language for
      >> emphasis, does not intend to negate the language referred to above
      >> unless expressly provided herein."[4]
      >>
      >> There is no reference to "seafood waste" in the report for the FY
      >> 2002
      >> House-passed Agriculture appropriations bill.
      >>
      >> The FY 2002 Senate Agriculture appropriations bill, however, states:
      >>
      >> "Seafood waste- While seafood is attractive now as an alternate food
      >> source, the disposal of seafood waste continues to be a national and
      >> international problem. Discarded fish waste and its other uses could
      >> potentially provide an additional source of revenue for seafood
      >> processors. The Committee provides an increase of $900,000 for fiscal
      >> year 2002 for ARS to develop a program with the University of Alaska
      >> on feedstuffs generated from materials usually wasted during
      >> processing of seafoods."[5]
      >>
      >> There is no reference to "seafood waste" in the FY 2001 Agriculture
      >> appropriations bills or reports passed by both the House and Senate.
      >>
      >> Anyone interested in knowing the purpose of this earmark would
      >> have to
      >> search back through five years of appropriations bills. Finding the
      >> amount of the earmark is even more complicated since the base amount
      >> is never provided, only the amount that the project is to increase
      >> each year.
      >>
      >>
      >> A clerk from the Senate Appropriations Committee disclosed that the
      >> actual amount that the Alaska "seafood waste" earmark is to receive
      >> under the FY 2007 Agriculture appropriations bill is $2,009,878.
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> [1] CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE, November 19, 2004, H10413.
      >>
      >> [2] CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE, November 25, 2003, H12448.
      >>
      >> [3] "MAKING FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR
      >> 2003, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES CONFERENCE REPORT TO ACCOMPANY H.J. Res.
      >> 2," House Report 108-10, Page 556.
      >>
      >> [4] "MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD
      >> AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES PROGRAMS FOR THE FISCAL
      >> YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2002, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," House Report
      >> 107-275, page 47.
      >>
      >> [5] Senate Report 107-41 to accompany S. 1191, page 35.
      >>
      >>
      >>
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