For some time now, there has been some speculation over the identity of ”the secret senator.” This was, up until now, an unknown member of Congress who was responsible for blocking passage of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which would require the government to publish online a database of federal spending.

Now it’s been learned that the senator is Alaska’s Ted Stevens.

Republican Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens’ spokesperson told CNN that the Senator wants to do a “cost/benefit analysis” first.

How much would that cost/benefit analysis cost? If Stevens has his way, we’ll never know without a lot of legwork, which is the whole point I suppose.

By the way, the senator would appear to be about the least qualified to talk about issues concerning the Internet. I never get tired of listening to this. Here’s Senator Stevens describing the Internet. It’s a “series of tubes…” Sure, when Al Gore originally created the thing it may have been, but I believe those tubes have been replaced with a big wire hooked to a doohicky that you have to crank and get Miss Fanny the operator on the line so you can surf the web.

Here’s the summary of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act:

S. 2590 would direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to oversee the creation of a single comprehensive searchable Web site that would include information on all federal grants, contracts, and other funding awarded to public and private organizations.

CBO estimates that implementing S. 2590 would cost $4 million in 2007 and about $15 million over the 2007-2011 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.  Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues.  S. 2590 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA); any costs to state, local, or tribal governments would result from complying with the conditions for receiving federal assistance.

Fifteen million seems a small price to pay for a guy who had no problem asking over $400 million for a couple of bridges in Alaska. Of course, $15 million so taxpayers can see where their money goes may not seem like much in the big picture of government spending, but to dry-humpers of the pork-barrel, concerns over the “expense” aren’t necessarily financial in nature.

Look at it from Ted’s perspective though. Asking Senator Stevens to pass S. 2590 is like asking John Dillinger if he’d please vote to install security cameras in the city bank. What would we expect him to do?


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