Show the earmarks

Lawmakers have succeeded once again in hiding their earmark requests from their constituents.

It seems that lawmakers have once again found a way to obstruct the view of their earmarks from the public. The Star Tribune recently found that although Minnesota lawmakers are technically compliant with a new rule that forces earmarks to be posted on lawmakersâÄô websites, the information is nearly impossible to find. Lawmakers have complicated the process by porting slang on their websites while creating a confusing layout. Lawmakers owe it to their constituents to make their requested earmarks, more than $580 million this year in Minnesota, easily accessible. Posting earmarks publically on websites is a first for most lawmakers as many have not done so before. But since it is now a requirement, lawmakers have abided by posting their earmarks under disguised names, avoiding the actual word âÄúearmark.âÄù Some of the words used, such as âÄúconstituent services,âÄù âÄúconstituent inspired funding,âÄù and âÄúproject requests,âÄù make finding earmarks difficult as it lacks a universal language for people to use. The issue can be fixed relatively easy. Instead of using such an array of aliases for their funding requests, lawmakers should refer to them as the common but universal term âÄúearmark.âÄù Also, the earmarks need to be posted at a noticeable spot on the front page of their website. If these guidelines are met, constituents will have a valuable tool when evaluating local politicians.