Re: [govtrack] the earmark challenge
- 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
> 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,
>> 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)."
>> 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.
>> The FY 2003 Consolidated appropriations bill report states,"The
>> conferees have agreed to increased funding for… Seafood Waste,
>> Fairbanks, AK" by $200,000.
>> 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."
>> There is no reference to "seafood waste" in the report for the FY
>> 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."
>> 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.
>>  CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE, November 19, 2004, H10413.
>>  CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE, November 25, 2003, H12448.
>>  "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.
>>  "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.
>>  Senate Report 107-41 to accompany S. 1191, page 35.
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