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Project on Government Oversight

POGO's letter to Senators Levin and McCain regarding protecting the integrity of earmark reform

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May 23, 2007

Chairman Carl Levin and Ranking Member John McCain
Senate Armed Services Committee
228 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Levin and Senator McCain:

I am writing to urge the Senate Armed Services Committee to protect the integrity of earmark reform which may be compromised by language included in the current Defense Authorization mark. That language would allow funding additions to existing programs or contracts to escape being categorized as earmarks even if they were not included in the President's budget request.

As a result, when Members of Congress request additional funding for existing programs or contracts beyond the President's budget, they will not have to comply with new transparency rules that require earmarks and their sponsors be identified.

Congress has every right to challenge the President's budget request, however these additions need to be made in the light of day.

We urge the Committee to take strong leadership on this issue and block any efforts to undermine transparency in the earmarking process. The American taxpayers deserve to know when their Members of Congress take action to benefit special interests.

Sincerely,

Danielle Brian
Executive Director 

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