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Coalition Urges Pelosi to Adopt Earmark Reform in 110th Congress
November 9, 2006
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Dear Leader Pelosi:
As you know, on Sept. 14, 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H. Res. 1000, an earmark-reform package that represented a modest first step toward ending the anonymous, wasteful and often corrupt nature of pork-barrel earmarks.
At the time, you were quoted in various news accounts as calling the reform package a "sham" that "does not save one penny or prevent one earmark." You also reportedly promised that "Democrats are fighting for sweeping Congressional reforms to ensure that Members are held to the highest ethical standards." On numerous occasions you even said that you'd like to end earmarks completely. We are encouraged by your stated support for real earmark reform, and would like to work with you to achieve that goal.
On Sept. 15, Congressional Quarterly paraphrased your spokesman as saying that "Pelosi would seek to enact a... package with greater disclosure requirements, including both the sponsors and recipients of earmarks. It also would require lawmakers to certify that there is no financial relationship between an earmark's author and the recipient."
You may also recall that on Sept. 13, two of your colleagues, U.S. Representatives Rahm Emanuel (5th Dist. - Ill.) and Chris Van Hollen (8th Dist. - Md.), offered an earmark-reform proposal to the House Rules Committee that is very similar to the package your spokesman described to Congressional Quarterly.
Among other reforms, the Emanuel-Van Hollen proposal stipulates that Members of Congress and their families cannot personally benefit from earmarks, that earmarks cannot be included in conference reports if they are not first included in earlier House- or Senate-passed legislation, and that Members of Congress cannot secure earmarks for entities or lobbying firms that employ their family members or former staffers.
On behalf of the millions of taxpayers represented by our organizations, we strongly encourage you and your Democratic colleagues to include the Emanuel-Van Hollen earmark reforms in the new House rules package that you introduce and pass on your first day in the majority.
These are common-sense ideas that will help save taxpayers money and restore some ethics to how taxpayer dollars are spent, and we hope you and your colleagues will show the same dedication to enacting these reforms in the majority as you did to promoting them in the minority.