Tuesday, June 12, 2007



Americans for Prosperity Joins Porkbusters.org in Recruiting Citizens to Help U.S. Rep. Obey Evaluate 36,000 Pork-Barrel Earmark Requests

Hundreds of Taxpayers Sign Up to Review Local Projects in First Few Hours

WASHINGTON – The free-market grassroots group Americans for Prosperity today joined with the Porkbusters.org website in setting up an online petition that will allow taxpayers from across America to volunteer to help House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey evaluate the merit of the 36,000 earmark requests he’s received from rank-and-file House members this year.

As the House begins consideration of this year’s appropriations bills, Chairman Obey has announced that he and his staff haven’t had time to adequately review this year’s earmark requests, so they will be forced to stick them into un-amendable conference reports later this year. In a letter to Chairman Obey last week, Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips volunteered the help of thousands of AFP’s grassroots taxpayers, and the kickoff of this new petition drive is the next step in that effort.

“As you know, Internet technology has made research faster and easier than at any previous time in human history,” Phillips pointed out in his letter to Obey. “By releasing your 36,000 earmark requests to Americans for Prosperity, our allies in other pro-taxpayer groups and to concerned bloggers, we would be able to unleash taxpayers across the country in a cooperative effort to determine which Members of Congress may have financial conflicts attached to their earmark requests, which local projects may be unworthy of federal funding and which may have value to the taxpayers.”

Taxpayers can sign up to help Chairman Obey vet pork-barrel requests at Porkbusters. As of Noon Eastern time on June 12, just three business hours after the online petition was first publicized, more than 250 citizens had signed up to help evaluate earmark requests – if only Chairman Obey would release them to the public.

In response to Chairman Obey’s refusal to release details of any pork-barrel earmarks until after the House passes its spending bills, Americans for Prosperity last week also challenged Members of Congress to sign an earmark transparency pledge. Signers of the pledge agree to voluntarily post details of their earmark requests on their Congressional websites within 72 hours.