Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Looks like Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds is ruffling feathers again on Capitol Hill.

Here's the background from The Wall Street Journal:

"There's a desperate new manhunt across the country, and the suspects are no less than 91 Members of the world's greatest deliberative body. One of these Senators has a big secret, and we should all have some fun as the foes of government pork try to run the mystery politician to ground.

Here's the forensic background: In April, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn introduced legislation that would set-up a database to track an estimated $1 trillion in federal grants, earmarks, contracts and loans. Americans would be able to perform Google-like searches to track how their tax dollars are spent -- or frittered away, as the case might be. Twenty-nine Senators have co-sponsored the bill, and it's a testament to how concerned some are about Washington's miserable spending reputation that the list includes a who's who of Presidential hopefuls, from Hillary Rodham Clinton to George Allen to Bill Frist.

Yet most Senators clearly have no desire to shine a light on their spending practices, and at least one -- perhaps more -- has placed a "secret" hold on the legislation. Normally the architects of these holds are exposed within a few legislative days, but with Congress on recess the masked spender has so far evaded capture and public scrutiny.

Porkbusters, a grassroots outfit that fights government waste, found this untransparent move to stymie government transparency a bit rich, and last week launched a campaign to unveil the blocker's identity. It has asked its members to call on their Senators to disavow the hold, and the responses are trickling in. The group, which is tracking the results on its Web site (www.porkbusters.org), still has the pictures of 91 Senators under its "Suspect" list. The nine Senators who have denied placing the hold are now listed as "In the Clear"; they are Senator Coburn, Barack Obama, Mary Landrieu, David Vitter, John McCain, Ron Wyden, Richard Shelby, Jim Inhofe and Jeff Sessions.

If Congress insists on spending like there's no tomorrow, at least the Members could let the voters see what they're spending it on by passing Senator Coburn's reform. Will the real secret Senator please stand up?

A tip of the hat to you Glenn...