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.
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
Jeb White, Executive Director
Taxpayers Against Fraud
Ryan Alexander, President
Taxpayers for Common Sense