Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Don Owens, Deputy Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7767

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog

Follow us on Twitter


28 Sep 2010

Bipartisan Coalition of Lobbyists and Advocates Announces Commonsense Earmark Reform Principles

(Washington, D.C.) - Today in the nation's capital, a diverse coalition of good government groups and Washington lobbyists from both sides of the political spectrum held a press conference to announce earmark reform principles aimed at reducing the influence of special interests and saving taxpayers' money.

"Earmarks are a real problem, but real solutions have been in short supply as politicians have engaged in one-upmanship around the issue.  Adopting these commonsense reforms would decrease corruption and increase Americans' confidence in Congress," said Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

This confederation of taxpayer watchdogs and private sector lobbyists includes CREW, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS), and Public Citizen (PC).  The private-sector lobbyists include former Congressman James Walsh (R-NY) and Manny Rouvelas of K & L Gates; Rich Gold of Holland & Knight; and Dave Wenhold of Miller/Wenhold (all of whom are representing their own views and not those of their firms or clients).

"As a former member of the House Appropriations Committee, I saw both the best and worst of earmarking, I support this effort to make the process more transparent and Members more accountable," said coalition partner and former Congressman Jim Walsh.

"Whether you are for earmarks or against them, everyone agrees that the public has right to know where their tax dollars are being spent and why," said Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "We cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good; these basic reforms represent a good step forward to more transparent and accountable spending."

The group announced five earmark reforms that they hope will be embraced as part of a rules package when the 112th Congress convenes in January, 2011.

   1. In order to cut the cord between earmarks and campaign contributions, Congress should limit earmarks directed to campaign contributors.

   2. To eliminate any connection between legislation and campaign contributions, legislative staff should be barred from participating in fundraising activities.

   3. To increase transparency, Congress should create a new database of all congressional earmarks.

   4. To ensure taxpayer money has been spent appropriately, the Government Accountability Office should randomly audit earmarks.

   5. To promote congressional responsibility without stifling innovation, members of Congress should certify that earmark recipients are qualified to handle the project.

"There have been improvements in accountability and transparency of earmarks since 2006, but much more needs to be done," said CAGW President Tom Schatz.  "These reforms are the least that can be done to provide more timely and comprehensive information to the taxpayers, who are ultimately paying for these projects." 

For more information on each of the principles, CLICK HERE.


Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


You can support the fight for greater government and corporate accountability through a donation to either Public Citizen, Inc., or Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Public Citizen lobbies Congress and federal agencies to advance Public Citizen’s mission of advancing government and corporate accountability. When you make a contribution to Public Citizen, you become a member of Public Citizen, showing your support and entitling you to benefits such as Public Citizen News. Contributions to Public Citizen are not tax-deductible.

Public Citizen Foundation focuses on research, public education, and litigation in support of our mission. By law, the Foundation can engage in only very limited lobbying. Contributions to Public Citizen Foundation are tax-deductible.