Friday, April 9, 2010

Bennet Raises the Bar on Transparency and Accountability

To Increase Transparency, Bennet Puts All Funding Requests He Both Receives and Submits Online for Coloradans to View

Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today made good on his promise to make public any earmark requests received by his office, including those not submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee. These requests are both sent to the media and posted on his official Web site for Coloradans to view.

Just like Bennet’s pledge never to request earmarks for private or for-profit organizations, today’s announcement goes beyond current policy that requires publishing appropriations funding requests he makes to the Committee, which is required for all Senators.

“The people of Colorado pay taxes and deserve a government that not only works for them, but is accountable to them,” said Bennet. “I have no issue with members of Congress fighting for projects that will create jobs and benefit local communities in their state or for their district. But this funding should be done in the light of day, completely transparent and accountable -- not behind closed doors, hidden from the American people.”

As part of his Plan for Washington Reform, Bennet included a section that addresses the need to reform the federal appropriations process, also known as earmarking. That portion of the plan includes:

Banning earmarks to private, for-profit companies and institutions.

Holding Members of Congress accountable on earmark requests

All earmark requests above $1 million should go before the Appropriations Committee

Holding earmarks recipients accountable

Each year, a certain percent of all earmarks will be audited to ensure that taxpayer money is being spent wisely.

These reports should be made public on

Making earmarks transparent

Members of Congress must report all earmark requests they receive and all earmarks requests made should list all earmarks requests, sortable by member of Congress

Bennet’s appropriations process begins by inviting Coloradans to submit detailed funding proposals to his office. He and his staff then review the submissions and submit the projects best suited for Colorado’s needs to the Senate Appropriations Committee. These projects must be approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and then by the full House and Senate before being sent to the President for his signature.

Senate offices are required to publish the appropriations requests they submit to the Committee, but Bennet’s pledge goes further by also publishing the funding requests he received but decided not to send to the Committee.

Currently, all of Bennet’s funding requests for Agriculture, Defense, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Interior, Military Construction, and Commerce, Justice and Science are online, and he will continue to submit new requests as they are made throughout the process.

The Appropriations Web page can be found at

For more information on Bennet’s Plan for Washington Reform, please click here.

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