Earmark Transparency Act of 2009

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The Earmark Transparency Act of 2009 was a bill in Wisconsin.


The Earmark Transparency Act of 2009 was part of a package of legislation designed to provide greater government transparency. The following four Republican representatives of the Wisconsin State Legislature collaborated to create the package: Bill Kramer, Leah Vukmir, Rich Zipperer and Brett Davis.[1]


The act, introduced by Rep. Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee), required all proposed earmarks to be made public at least 48 hours prior to any voting in committee or in either houses of the legislature. It also prohibited agencies from requesting earmarks and prohibited a conference committee from inserting ‘airdrops’ into the budget. Airdrops are non‐fiscal policy items inserted into a conference committee budget that were not previously approved during any step of the budget process.[1][2]

The Wisconsin Eye intended to provide complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the budget process, including all executive sessions of the Joint Committee on Finance.[3]

However, opposition from Rep. "Red Fred" Kessler, Chairman of the Assembly State Affairs and Homeland Security committee, was considered as an individual who could have prevented the transparency legislation from being passed. Like other key Democratic officials in Wisconsin, Kessler feared that such legislation would reveal which earmarks were put into the budgets that benefited his district.[4]

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