2 of 19 Illinois Reps share their proposed earmark spending

CNN tried to find out if Congress was keeping to its promises of openness and transparency by asking all 435 U.S. Representatives for their earmark requests for the 2008 budget. Only 31 responded and 68 just declined, the rest didn’t return calls. Two of the thirty-one were Rahm Emanuel and Tim Johnson — the only ones from Illinois to respond.

If you’re interested in asking your reprensentative what they’re planning on spending our money on, you can find phone and fax numbers at Contacting the Congress.

District Representative Response
Illinois 01 Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D) Declined
Illinois 02 Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) Declined
Illinois 03 Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D) “left a message”, no response
Illinois 04 Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D) “left message”, no response
Illinois 05 Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D) Yes (pdf)
Illinois 06 Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R) “Maybe”, no response
(later released, see comments)
Illinois 07 Rep. Danny K. Davis (D) “may email us a response”, no response
Illinois 08 Rep. Melissa Bean (D) No Earmarks Requested
Illinois 09 Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D) “left voicemail”, no response
Illinois 10 Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R) “left a message”, no response
Illinois 11 Rep. Jerry Weller (R) “sent an email”, no response
Illinois 12 Rep. Jerry F. Costello (D) “left voicemail”, no response
Illinois 13 Rep. Judy Biggert (R) “left a voicemail”, no response
(later released, see comments)
Illinois 14 Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R) “said he’ll get back to us”, no response
Illinois 15 Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R) Yes
Illinois 16 Rep. Donald Manzullo (R) “left message”, no response
Illinois 17 Rep. Philip G. Hare (D) “left message”, no response
Illinois 18 Rep. Ray LaHood (R) “left a message”, no response
Illinois 19 Rep. John M. Shimkus (R) Declined

Responses to the earmarks request from CNN’s complete response list.

Update: As noted in the comments, some Representatives have released their earmark requests after this report.

(via blogging.la)

2 Comments so far

  1. scott (unregistered) on June 20th, 2007 @ 9:01 pm

    Just an FYI, Reps. Roskam and Biggert have released their earmark lists. And they are far more comprehensive than any others in the nation, including dollar amounts and special project funding requests. Let’s hope this is an indication of greater government transparency to come!

  2. Steven Moore (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 9:34 am

    Congressman Roskam released his list of directed funding requests for the Sixth District on Tuesday.

    Here is the text of a Chicago Tribune article:

    Earmark promises fall short of light
    Despite calls for full disclosure, only 5 of Illinois’ 21 lawmakers reveal pet projects

    By Jim Tankersley
    Washington Bureau

    June 21, 2007

    WASHINGTON — Democrats and Republicans scrapped last week over public disclosure of “earmarks,” the time-honored, recently scorned congressional tradition of tagging federal money for lawmakers’ pet projects. Two Illinois Republicans called loudly for openness.

    “Earmarks should be exposed to the full sunshine of public scrutiny,” a news release from Rep. Peter Roskam began. To that, Rep. Jerry Weller added: “Sunshine is the best disinfectant. … I’ve always believed in full disclosure, and have always attached my name to the projects I request for our district.”

    But when a reporter asked every member of the Illinois congressional delegation to disclose earmark proposals this week, Roskam and Weller diverged. Roskam released a detailed list of his 19 requests, which total more than $100 million. Weller’s office declined, saying its policy is to release earmarks only after they win House approval.

    Most of the Illinois delegation is like Weller. Only five of its 21 members gave their complete earmark requests to the Tribune: Democratic Sen. Barack Obama; GOP Reps. Roskam, Judy Biggert and Mark Kirk; and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic conference chairman, who started the disclosure ball rolling on Monday.

    Their requests include hundreds of millions of dollars in requests for Chicago-area transportation, sewer and other projects.

    Other members cited office policy — or quietly voiced fears of offending supporters, colleagues or congressional tradition — for waiting for their projects to pass before trumpeting them (and trumpet they will).

    A few did not respond to the inquiry. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will release his full list of requests for each appropriations bill after the bill clears the committee, his staff said.

    Obama, one of several senators running for president, will become the first White House hopeful to detail his earmark requests when his office posts his 113-item list online Thursday.

    Congress is replaying a nearly annual tradition this month as it approves money for federal agencies to spend. Lawmakers are lining up to earmark chunks of that money for projects they support, most often in their districts or states.

    Earmarks can bring a lawmaker praise from constituents — that’s why almost everyone touts them once they make it into law — and wrath from fiscal watchdog groups. Sometimes they provoke national outrage, as in the case of the derisively dubbed Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere” in 2005 — a proposed earmark of $230 million to help build a span to an island populated by about 50 people.

    Democrats had vowed reforms

    Democrats promised earmark reform in many of the races that won them the House and Senate last year. The House followed through this year by requiring members to attach their names to earmark requests.

    But when Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said earlier this month that he would send appropriations bills to a vote without earmarks and add them later — to give the committee more time to review requests — some Republicans cried foul. The parties struck a deal last week to include earmarks in most appropriations bills.

    Amid the controversy, a few lawmakers released their full request lists in the name of disclosure. Emanuel detailed his $170 million list on Monday, saying he “wanted to take the extra step, so it’s all out there.” His requests included $100 million for Chicago-area transportation projects.

    Roskam followed on Tuesday, with a list headlined by $33 million to alleviate pollution and flooding in Chicagoland sewers. Kirk on Wednesday disclosed requests including $75 million (made in conjunction with Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean) for Northrop Grumman Corp. to build defenses for troop-carrying civilian aircraft against surface-to-air missiles.

    Full lists available online

    Biggert’s list, also released Wednesday, includes a $100 million loan guarantee for titanium powder alloy development. Full lists from Biggert, Kirk, Roskam, Emanuel and Obama will be available on chicagotribune.com Thursday morning.

    Kirk urged all members of Congress to join him in releasing their requests. “I support reforms which promote transparency and accountability,” he said in a statement.

    But other offices and several watchdog groups said members of Congress still have plenty of incentives to keep their requests secret.

    Disclosure could upset the constituent groups that asked for money, particularly if a lawmaker requests less than was asked for, or requests nothing. Conversely, it could entice lobbyists to ask for even more next year. It could upset House or Senate convention. And it could invite unwelcome scrutiny from the public or the news media, particularly because most earmark requests don’t make it into law.

    Emanuel said members who don’t release their earmarks until they hit the House floor are “not being inconsistent” with earmark reforms. Some watchdogs say they should release them anyway, to boost public faith in Congress.

    “When members talk about earmarks, they frame them in terms of, ‘We know what’s best for our districts, this is what’s best for our districts,’ ” said Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based government transparency group. “If it is indeed for local constituents, they have a right to see what’s being done in the name of their interests.”

    In a release accompanying her earmark list, Biggert agreed.

    “I know that some of these requests are long shots, and in the past we never wanted to get people’s hopes up too high,” she said. “But transparency now is much more important than sparing false hopes, and I want to ensure that all of our worthy projects are out there and given a chance.”

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