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'Blogosphere' spurs government oversight

September 12, 2006View for printing

A loose coalition of groups published a list of "pork barrel" projects in a House Appropriations bill. Sunlight Foundation uses Google Maps on its website to show where each project is located.

When watchdog groups that monitor federal spending wanted more information on 1,800 "pork barrel" projects buried in a House appropriations bill, they listed them on the Internet and asked readers to dig deeper. Within days, details began pouring in.

The same thing happened when Porkbusters.org enlisted readers of its website to find out which senator had blocked legislation that would create an online database of federal grants and contracts. One by one, senators were eliminated until Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., were uncovered.

The two episodes illustrate the latest trend in government oversight: More light is being thrown on Congress, not just by the media and public interest groups, but in the "blogosphere" where Internet users meet.

"It's probably the biggest expansion of government oversight that we'll ever have," says Thomas Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the groups pioneering the effort. "It will turn every American into a watchdog."

By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

Full Story: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washing ... -pork_x.htm
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