Transparency

Write All Over Pending Legislation, Including the Various Bailout Bills!

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PublicMarkup.org is a genuinely fascinating website, which allows you, me, and the smelly homeless guy at the public library glomming the computer terminal to have our say on pending legislation:

Welcome to PublicMarkup.org, an ongoing experiment in preparing legislation more inclusively by opening bills to online, public review.

PublicMarkup.org gives you the opportunity to review and comment on proposed bills before they are even introduced-or while they are pending-in Congress.

The site is a project of The Sunlight Foundation and is pretty damn cool.

Go to PublicMarkup.org now to see, for instance, what sort of comments "Dodd's Legislative Proposal From Treasury Department for Authority to Buy Mortgage-Related Assets" or "Treasury's Legislative Proposal From Treasury Department for Authority to Buy Mortgage-Related Assets" have garnered.

Hat Tip: Miami University's Glenn Platt, head of the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies.

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  1. Great, yet another way to be ignored by public officials.

  2. During my brief time at the OMB in the mid-90s, there was a lot of talk about how the Internet–excuse me, the National Information Infrastructure, or, more colloquially, the Information Superhighway–could be used to transform public commentary on rules and regulations. I don’t think that really happened, despite all the talk. The problem is that most people without a vested interest don’t take the time to learn the issues and comment intelligently. Worse yet, the regulators tend to only pay attention to commenters with some recognized political clout–like consumer groups or businesses.

    As for commenting on bills, I imagine that Congress will continue to not give a damn about that sort of opinion, though staff may crib some language on occasion.

  3. Both Treasury’s (Paulson’s) and Senator Dodd’s proposal for this legislation open an UNLIMITED revolving line of credit: spending authority is “$700 billion at any one time” (Section 6).

    Who are they kidding, with this meaningless pseudo-cap or $700 billion?

    And Treasury’s proposal includes language prohibiting any oversight or regulation of the Secretary’s decisions by any agency of the Federal government, or legal challenge in the courts.

    So the Secretary of the Treasury can spend unlimited amounts of the taxpayer’s money on anything, without any oversight by anyone. So much for the overthrow of the monarchy back in 1781.

  4. Worse yet, the regulators tend to only pay attention to commenters with some recognized political clout–like consumer groups or businesses.

    So we got status quo.

  5. imagine that Congress will continue to not give a damn about that sort of opinion, though staff may crib some language on occasion.

    Only if the staffer knows that commenter JollyRancher297 is really Jeffrey Tubin.

  6. Paul,

    Exactly. It’s a tough problem, even if politics didn’t dominate the discourse–how do a relatively small number of bureaucrats deal with massive commentary by the common folk?

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