Aug. 24, 2006 – A proposed bill to combat secrecy in government contracting procedures is now the subject of its own secrecy controversy.
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The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act would create a public website containing information about government funding. The site would include a searchable database of federal funding given to each recipient, itemized transactions including which agency gave out the funds and what the funds were intended for.
The bill has widespread bipartisan support, but one senator, or a group of senators, has thwarted its quick passage by placing an anonymous "hold" on it. Supporters of the bill were hoping to move it quickly through the Senate by gaining "unanimous consent" for a vote. But any Senator can stop such a procedure by requesting a hold on the bill, thereby forcing a longer debate process.
Proponents of the Act are hoping to find out who is stopping it and pressure him or her to give up the hold.
In an effort to smoke out the holder, the blog Porkbusters is asking supporters to call their Senators and demand they go on record denying they are involved in the hold procedure. The bloggers have set up a webpage on which they are tracking which Senators have been "cleared" and which have yet to issue a denial.