t's a sign of just how hot an issue pork-barrel spending has become that the biggest game in political Washington this summer is trying to smoke out the senator who is blocking a bill to create a searchable database of federal contracts and grants.
The bill has the support of the Bush administration and activists on widely divergent sides of the political spectrum. It also passed a Senate committee without any objections, so the unknown senator is annoying many people.
Sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, and Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, the bill would require the administration to create a searchable Web site that would list the name and amount of any federal grant, contract or other award of money amounting to $25,000 or more.
Glenn Reynolds has been leading the charge from Porkbusters and now Josh Marshall and the TPM Muckrakers have opened fire from the opposite flank. The scorecards as compiled by the MuckMen (and Women!) is here.
This has not yet reached the "All The News That's Fit To Print" threshold yet, but who knows? (Actually, I am wondering whether they will discover that Richard Armitage has been tagged in the Plame investigation - nothing so far.)
What's missing is a proper betting pool - my money would be on Robert Byrd as the secret holder, mainly because he is a traditionalist and the King of Pork.
That said, my guess is the hold will be mysteriously lifted and we will never know who placed it, or why. The World's Greatest Deliberative Body, indeed.