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Project on Government Oversight

Stop No-Bid Earmarks; Support Section 828 of the Senate Defense Authorization Bill

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November 5, 2007

Dear Member of Congress:

We are concerned that the House Armed Services Committee leaders are working to get rid of requirements for earmarks to face competition. During consideration of the FY2008 Defense Authorization bill, the Senate adopted a common sense provision subjecting earmarks to federal competitive bidding laws and regulations. The earmark competition provision should not be removed from the FY08 Defense Authorization bill.

Congress has justifiably been highly critical of billions of dollars in government contracts that the Administration has often issued without competition for reconstruction efforts in Iraq and the Gulf Coast. In fact, Congress has repeatedly voted to end or limit these "no bid" contracts. Section 828 the Senate Defense Authorization bill simply applies that same reasoning to earmarks.

To be clear, Section 828 would NOT prevent members of Congress from making earmarks, it would simply introduce common sense transparency and competition in the awarding of grants and contracts. Those common sense provisions ensure that the American taxpayers get the best deal and prevent favor exchanges which have cast a pall over the reputation of the Congress.

The most egregious corruption scandals in the past few years have all involved Members of Congress who steer earmarks to companies in exchange for money and favors.

Eliminating the earmark competition provision will be hard for Members of Congress to justify given all the recent critical attention to Congressional earmarks.  We urge you to support inclusion of Section 828 in the final version of the bill.


Michael Ostrolenk
American Conservative Defense Alliance

Tim Phillips, President
Americans for Prosperity

Tom Schatz, President
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Mark Cohen, Executive Director
Government Accountability Project

Ken Boehm, Chairman
National Legal and Policy Center

Pete Sepp, Vice President
Policy & Communications
National Taxpayers Union

Danielle Brian, Executive Director
Project On Government Oversight

Ellen Miller, Executive Director
Sunlight Foundation

Jeb White, Executive Director
Taxpayers Against Fraud

Ryan Alexander, President 
Taxpayers for Common Sense

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