This came to me via email a few minutes ago from Tom Coburn's office:
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today called on Senate and House leaders from
both parties to make the elimination of earmarking, or pork politics, the
centerpiece of any reforms considered in the wake of the Jack Abramoff
scandal. Abramoff has described the appropriations committees, and, by
extension, the appropriations process, as an "earmark favor
factory" in which influence and votes are bought and sold.
"Congress does not need to reform the lobbying industry as much
as it needs to reform itself. The willingness of politicians to abuse the
appropriations process through earmarking has caused the explosive growth in
the lobbying industry and encouraged the excesses illustrated by the Jack
Abramoff scandal. It is not enough for our leaders to propose
reforms that might promote the appearance, but not necessarily the practice, of
ethical behavior," Dr. Coburn said.
"For the American people, the Abramoff scandal is only beginning to
connect the dots between politicians, individual earmarks, lobbyists and
campaign contributions. Behind each of the 14,000 earmarks Congress
approved last year is a story that many politicians will not want their
constituents to hear. If Congress fails to enact meaningful reforms that
attack this climate of corruption at its source the public will, and should,
take reform into its own hands in November.
Keep up the good work. I hope he doesn't find a horse's head in his bed.