This weekend the News Tribune ran a set of stories on congressional earmarks. The package as a whole creates a fair discussion about something that tends to be dominated by the obvious bad offenders. There’s a database of Washington earmarks included, and U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, figures prominently in the stories.
“It robs the public of a fully transparent debate,” Jason Mercier, director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center, a nonprofit group that lobbies for more transparent government, said of the earmarks process. “People just kind of slip these things in there.”
Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, noted that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress, not the White House, the “power of the purse.” And that’s as it should be, he said. “They know better what’s needed in their districts than some OMB bureaucrat,” Dicks said, referring to the Office of Management and Budget.