Wednesday, May 17, 2006

...not as we do

Just a couple of weeks back, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would require all lawmakers to attach their names to any pet projects, as opposed to leaving them anonymous. This is partially due to the recent scandals that have sprung up with regards to appropriations and potential bribery.

So why is it that, even after this bill was passed, there are still plenty of anonymous pet projects being pushed through the system?

Sure, there are some legislators that will admit to the projects right away, and others that will even go so far as to brag about what they've gotten earmarked (Martin Sabo of Minnesota is one of those... good to see a local boy follow the bill he helped pass), many others are preferring to leave their names off, and trying to come up with justification as to why.

The big question has got to be just that. "Why?" Why are they are allowed to continue anonymously getting these through? Why aren't they adhering to their own bills? One possible reason why they're pushing these pet projects through now is due to a legal loophole... the bill has passed, but it hasn't been signed into law yet. Therefore, while they may be violating en ethical stance, they certainly aren't breaking any laws. And, unfortunately, far too many legislators are willing to abandon anything resembling ethics just so long as they aren't going to spend time in prison.

Another belief is that, by admitting to who "owns" the pet projects, they will be brought to a halt, and that there will be a backlash towards the legislators who have their name appear more frequently than others. Our politicians are afraid of favoritism being shown towards any of them, which, while somewhat understandable, is rather deplorable. After all, shouldn't they be working together to improve the status of all, as opposed to only working to better certain areas that happen to be favored at that point? And shouldn't they be willing to take something of a backseat if a different legislator has more need for whichever pet project is being pushed at the time?

Or is this a case where, much like the Pres himself, a law doesn't mean anything if the people who signed it don't want it to apply to them?

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