The Spectacle Blog

Pelosi: Not So Sunny After All

By on 12.4.09 | 11:50AM

Before getting too excited about Nancy Pelosi's new policy of disclosing lawmakers' personal spending online, read the Washington Examiner's rain dump on the sunshine parade. It turns out that line-item expenditures in the 3,404 page document are on the cryptic side — to put it charitably — and that Congress made it that way on purpose.

If Americans care to fight their way through Washington, D.C., traffic and examine the hard copy disbursement records, they'll get lots of specifics on the items, often down to the product code. But the online version lacks those important details.

Thus, citizens can track that their congressman spent thousands on "office equipment" without knowing whether that he means he bought a pricey Persian rug for his office or a necessary computer to help with constituent services. And despite what some elitist lawmakers might think, there is a difference between those two.

What blew the lid off the spending spree scandal among MPs in Great Britain were the specifics on purchased items. We need the same here.

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