The “Secret Hold”

Ken AshfordCongressLeave a Comment

It is a very very very rare thing when the right side of the political blogosphere and the left side of the political blogosphere are in total agreement.  It’s even rarer when they work together.

But that is what has been happening the past few days, and it is fun to watch.

The issue is Senate Bill 2590, also known as the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590).  It was introduced by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Barack Obama (D-IL), Thomas Carper (D-DE) and John McCain (R-AZ).  The purpose of the proposed law?  To create an online public database that itemizes federal funding.

The bill ensures that the taxpayers will now know how their money is being spent.  It’s a great idea — every citizen in this country, after all, should have the right to know what organizations and activities are being funded with their hard-earned tax dollars.

That’s why it has overwhelming support.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed the measure July 27th, and S.2590 seemed to be speeding on its way to full Senate passage when, in the dark of night, an unknown Senator placed a "secret hold" on the bill. According to Senate courtesies, the bill will never come to a vote as long as the hold continues.

So who’s the culprit?

The blogosphere on the left and the right united, and over the past few days, people have been calling their Senators’ offices to see if their Senator was the one who blocked the bill.  A tally is being kept here, among other places.  The united effort has become, in essesnce, an online parlor game: "Guess The Secret Senator".

Stevens2Right now, there are only five senators who haven’t denied being responsible for the "secret hold": Byrd, Robert C.(D – WV), Gregg, Judd (R – NH); Hatch, Orrin G.(R – UT); Stevens, Ted (R – AK), and
Bennett, Robert F (R – UT).

Most people now believe the culprit is Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, the testy old curmodgeon famous for the now-legendary "bridge to nowhere", a $233 million bridge in Alaska (named after Stevens himself) which went to a small island with only a handful of inhabitants.

In other words, this bill is designed to make wasteful government spending very apparent to American citizens.  It’s no surprise that the most wasteful government spender, Ted Stevens, is behind the "secret hold" on the bill.

P.S.  Ted Stevens is also the man famous for his explanation of the Internet as "a series of tubes" and "not a truck".  He also calls his e-mail by the word "Internet", as in "I received an internet last night…."

In short, the guy is as corrupt as he is stupid.

UPDATE:  Stevens admits it.