Posts Tagged ‘earmarks’

Report Indicts DC Council Earmarks

February 19, 2010

Report Indicts DC Council Earmarks

It’s not called “All About Barry.”  The report by Robert S. Bennett  and Amy R. Sabrin is entitled “Council of the District of Columbia Contracts and Grants.”  Among the findings:

In the view of Special Counsel, the current form of Council earmarking is not a sound method for appropriating public funds. It effectively permits each Member to designate individual programs for funding on an ad hoc basis without prudently establishing spending priorities. Council Members, moreover, are understandably not equipped to fully and carefully vet individual grantees, and the legislative “logrolling” inherent in the earmark appropriations process inhibits thorough scrutiny of proposed grant recipients. The informal method by which grantees are selected clearly does not ensure that public funds go to the best or most effective organizations to deliver the intended services or accomplish the stated goals of the grant.


DC Council Earmarks

August 3, 2009

DC Council Earmarks

DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray has done a brave and sensible thing by eliminating councilmember earmarks from the FY2010 District of Columbia budget. But what DC Government really needs is earmark abolition.

Earmarks are no-bid contracts in the nonprofit sector, and they undercut the city’s competitive grant programs and bidding practices. Earmarks reward the politically-connected, not the best-qualified. Councilmembers and staff do not have the expertise or time to assess the merits of each earmarked grant or knowledge of competing alternatives. The Barry earmarks are exhibit A.

But look at the arts and cultural grants the Council awarded for FY 2010 before they were erased from the budget. The $31 million in Council arts earmarks totaled nearly 4 times the entire FY 2010 budget of the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities. Why bother filling out a DCCAH grant application and putting it through competitive peer-panel review and Commission approval for a possible 4 or 5 -figure grant when your councilmember can get you more money without any paperwork?