When you are the “King of Pork Barrel Spending” what do you do to prevent the public from being able to monitor government spending? You put a secret hold on the bill that would setup a public database that would allow anyone to search through all recipients of federal grants, contracts, and other payments.
The proposed law – cosponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma, Barack Obama (D) of Illinois, Thomas Carper (D) of Delaware, and John McCain (R) of Arizona had bipartisan support and sailed through the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 27th and seemed well on it’s way to passage until a previously unknown senator placed a secret hold on the bill that prevented it from making to a floor vote.
Once the fact that a secret hold had been placed on the bill, several bloggers enlisted the services of their readers in an attempt to find out which senator didn’t have the guts to come out into the open. After 100’s of phone calls the persistence paid off and wouldn’t you know it, the senator turned out to be Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, the guy most known for $320 million bridge to nowhere.
I guess no one should be surprised that the “King of Pork” would do what he could to prevent the public from knowing whose pockets he is actually in. The question now is how long will he continue to keep the hold on this bill considering that all of America knows he is responsible for keeping it on the shelf.
UPDATE 8/31: It looks like Senator Stevens had company with the “secret hold” as it is now being reported that Senator Byrd placed a hold on this bill so that he could “have time to read the legislation, understand its implications, and see whether the proposal could be improved”.
If that indeed was his motive, why keep it secret?