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Some Progress on Earmark Transparency?

The Senate Fiscal Working group released their recommendations to improve transparency in the earmarking process Thursday.

The group includes Sen. Thad Cochran (R.-Miss.) who was named the Senate's top earmarker by the Citizens Against Government Waste in their annual "Pig Book released Wednesday. According to CAGW, Cochran requested $892.2 million in earmarks in the year 2007.

As a member of the working group, he agreed to these recommendations. Other members of the group, chaired by Sen. Dick Lugar (R.-Ind.) included Sen. Mike Crapo (R.-Idaho), Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R.-Ga.). No Democrats were on the panel.

The recommendations say:
-all earmarks be placed in bill text rather than report language
-a list of all information on successfully inserted earmarks be made available on the Senator's website
-Requests be made public in searchable format at least 48 hours before floor consideration on the relavent committee's website.
-Senators provide full justification for a requested earmark, and whether the requesting Member, Member’s family, staff, or staff’s family will benefit financially from the earmark.

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