Monday, July 30, 2007

Grijalva Should Apologize For Nothing

My ears perked up when I read this over at Arizona Congress Watch
Until now, members have not revealed earmark requests, usually waiting until funding was approved to disclose "winning" projects. Before the July 4 recess, Grijalva told Giffords and other Arizona colleagues that he had no plans to change that.

But on July 5, Grijalva released his complete list. On his Web site, he posted a list of 42 projects for which he is seeking $327 million.

Giffords immediately was asked for her list, and she demurred. After a spate of negative newspaper articles and accusations of secrecy, she posted her list on her Web site a week later. The impression was that she was forced to do something she didn't want to do.

Grijalva said he made a mistake. He didn't intend to release his earmark requests, but was repeatedly asked about them during meetings around his district. So "I changed my mind," he said this week.

Grijalva said Giffords told him she wished she had known he was going to release his list. "I apologized to her," Grijalva said. "I accept that. I got criticism from all my Democratic colleagues."

Why is Raúl apologizing to a novice on the Hill for something that, I'm sure, has widespread support among the people? Earmarks, while sometimes ridiculous, can be extremely beneficial methods of support that remind districts that the federal government is still concerned with the machinations of local communities. But, really, that's beside the point. Here's the real one:

Taxpayers fund the government.

I know that's a shocking revelation. I'll give you a few seconds to allow you to catch your breath (especially if any Congressional staffers happen to stumble into this online cantina). Bottom line is: It is our right to know how the government spends or wastes the revenue that is collected from our pockets everyday.

I find it highly amusing that Grijalva, who decided to release his list of earmarks after speaking to constituents, took flak from within his own Majority party for forcing their hand on transparency. It is one of those rare moments of public nudity where the populace can gawk in horror at the exposure of the entire political system that flaunts itself on the stage due to the pimping efforts of the Corporate Bosses.

Republicans and Democrats look the same when they're in the buff, that's why legislation to make the system more transparent and therefore, accountable to public scrutiny, have been thwarted or slowed-down since the mantle of power (supposedly) switched hands last November.

Gabrielle Giffords has only been a Congresswoman for a few months - it's unsettling that she is learning the ropes that would better serve this country if they were bisected with a machete. She should be gladly receiving advice from Raúl, not apologies.

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