I find it more than a little ironic that the GOP is taking a sudden interest in fighting earmarks considering they were the worst offenders when they held control of the chambers.
The number of earmarks swelled from 546 projects worth $3.1 billion in 1991 to almost 14,000 projects worth $27 billion in 2005, according to Citizens Against Government Waste in Washington, an early pioneer in providing data on special-interest projects.
The figures dropped last year to 2,658 projects worth $13 billion.
Furthermore, Coburn's campaign is clearly politically driven and I assume targets Democrat's earmarks only. It doesn't really address the larger problem of how much time and money is wasted on both sides of the fence in this back-room deal making tradition but I welcome any crimp in the incumbency protection racket.
What I really want to know though, is why these conference reports aren't routinely made available on the internet on the official government sites so any citizen can easily peruse our Congresslizards' spending priorities. In fact, I don't see why the entire bills aren't routinely made available before they're voted on, now that it costs practically nothing to make the information available electronically.
Our 'representatives' might become more diligent about reading the bills themselves if they knew we were able to find out ahead of time what they're voting for.
Update: NYT has a small list of the latest earmarks. A million here, a million there, it adds up.