Senator “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens Outted For Placing Secret Hold on Bill to Create Government Spending Database Available to P

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In a coup for the blogging community, which mounted a “call your Senator” campaign to figure out who was the Pro-Pork Senator blocking the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), the Senator in question has been revealed. It is, as FFATA co-sponsor Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) predicted, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)

FFATA, co-sponsored Sen. Barak Obama (D-Ill.), “would require the Office of Management and Budget to create a user-friendly Web site listing details on every grant and contract handed out by the federal government. Information would have to be posted within 30 days of Congress’ authorization of the spending.” (Via this editorial, which is popping up in a variety of papers)

That would be a problem for Sen. Stevens, probably the reigning king of pork. Now that he’s been outted, pressure must be brought to get him to release the bill. FFATA has broad bipartisan support, 29 Senators joined Coburn and Obama in co-sponsoring it, it sailed through the appropriate committees, and it deserves a full “up or down” Senate vote, as the administration is fond of saying.

Ironically, the Senate voted 84-13 in April to ban secret holds. The bill—another bi-partisan effort, this one sponsored by by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)—would permit Senators to object to legislation, but not secretly. (The Wyden-Grassley amendment, No. 2944, was rolled into the Senate’s ethics reform package, which is, but of course, held up in conference committee.) All of the 13 no votes were cast by Republicans—Senators Allard, Bunning, Burr, Coburn, DeMint, Ensign, Frist, Gregg, Kyl, McConnell, Sessions, Sununu, Thune; Democratic Senators Byrd and Rockefeller did not vote, along with Republican Lindsey Graham. (Byrd, another notorious porker, explained his absence as being due to a death in the family.)

So Stevens votes in favor of a bill banning secret holds, but continues to use them. Coburn votes against the ban on secret holds, but rails against Stevens for using them. And this may be a simple case of pay back. It was Coburn, after all, that got Stevens’ bridge to nowhere killed.

Ain’t Washington fun?

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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