For the first time ever, the federal government has put an earmark databased online.
In April, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) launched a publicly available database containing details on 13,496 earmarks for fiscal 2005. It includes aggregate data on the number and cost of earmarks by agency and state.
For example, the U.S. Department of Justice received 911 earmarks totaling nearly $573 million – 907 of which ($537 million) went to the Office of Justice Programs. Of those, 245 earmarks, totaling nearly $122 million, went to juvenile justice programs.
While each earmark listing includes the recipient’s name and address, the purpose of the grant and the grant amount, it does not identify the congressional sponsor. In addition, programs listed as recipients in the database may not always represent the ultimate beneficiaries of the earmark, according to a disclaimer posted on the site.
The database was launched in response to President Bush’s call on Congress earlier this year to cut the number and cost of earmarks in half. In addition, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 requires all federal grants and contracts to be posted online by Jan. 1, 2008. In order to establish a benchmark for earmark appropriations, OMB collected data on fiscal 2005 earmarks from all federal agencies.
The database is at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/earmarks/index.html.