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Bloggers Unearth Secret Senator

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-08-31

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Someone in the US Senate put a hold on S.2590, a bill that would compel the government to publish an accessible database of federal spending. Political pundits on both sides of the blogosphere wanted to know one thing:

Bloggers Unearth Secret Senator
Blogosphere Uncovers The Truth

Who put the secret hold on S.2590? CNN.com revealed the mystery Senator's identity today.

Here's a hint: "The internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's, it's a series of tubes." Did you guess correctly?

Of course you did.

Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been revealed as the one with his thumb on the throat of S.2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and several other co-sponsors supported the Act, which will require full disclosure of all entities and organizations receiving Federal funds.

The CNN report confirmed what many had suspected: Stevens was behind the hold. Senators have long enjoyed the privilege of being able to unilaterally object to a bill and block it. Coburn called out Stevens on the issue a few weeks ago, according to TPMMuckraker.com, but there was no confirmation immediately from Stevens' office.

Meanwhile, political bloggers began weighing in with opinions and calls to action. Daily Kos discussed it, and immediately pointed a finger at Stevens, correctly as it turns out. Also, Porkbusters asked readers to call their Senators and ask them to state, on the record, if they would deny placing a hold on the bill.

When CNN came calling on Stevens, Aaron Saunders, a spokesperson for the Senator, denied any attempt to keep the hold anonymous:

"At the time he placed the hold he notified Sen. [Tom] Coburn and his staff and identified several questions we had with the bill. Two weeks ago Sen. Coburn named Stevens as having a hold on the bill, so we don't consider it a secret."

Notice the choice of phrase: "we don't consider it a secret." More from Saunders:

"This wasn't in any way secretive," Saunders said. "We're baffled as to why it's been called a secret hold."

Which Coburn's office refuted:

"This hold was a secret," Coburn spokesman John Hart said. "His office has ignored media and bloggers' calls about this issue for weeks. We had to ask Stevens if he was the hold. His staff has still not met with us."

Issues like the hold on S.2590 and the imposing and withdrawal of new fees on DSL service by Verizon and BellSouth may have received a little coverage in the days of newspaper and TV-only media. Maybe people are starting to learn the lesson that Flik and company realized in "A Bug's Life" - a lot of little ants can stand up to bigger, meaner grasshoppers and fight back.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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