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House Democrats Shut Down Earmark Reform Site

10:22 AM, Feb 22, 2008 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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A few weeks ago, House Republicans announced the establishment of a new website: earmarkreform.house.gov, to promote their idea of a moratorium on new pork-barrel projects. Now that the effort has attracted some attention and put Democrats in a difficult position politically, they have told House Republicans that the site must be transferred to some generic URL -- due to an obscure rule that was previously unknown and unenforced. Roll Call ($) says:

House Administration regulations state that house.gov domains must "be recognizably derivative or representative of the name of the Member of the name of the office sponsoring the website." The name of an official House.gov Web site also must not be a slogan or imply in any way that the House endorses a specific commercial product, commodity or service, the regulations state.

There's nothing in the House rules about House URLs. A source also confirms that Republican staff was told that the approval process for web addresses is now being changed, to establish that the Committee guidelines referenced in Roll Call apply to future website address requests. In the past, they had not. The handbook guidelines 'did not follow the committee handbook conventions.'

But if the House does not allow domain names that can be considered 'slogans,' then why is 'globalwarming.house.gov' permitted? That's a Democratic site set up to promote the Democratic leadership's 'select committee' on global warming. Democrats won't allow the creation of a 'select committee' on earmark reform, because they don't want to deal with the issue.

It's almost as if the Democrats were uncomfortable debating earmark reform, so they searched the rule books to try to find some way to shut down a website that had become inconvenient. But of course, Democrats promised to change Washington, so that's just impossible.

There's more from Rob Bluey here. Check it out.