In two weeks, WashingtonWatch.com has collected and mapped over 10,000 congressional earmarks
Technically, the map on the WashingtonWatch.com Web site is not broken — it just doesn’t work well with many browsers.
To encourage “crowdsourced” collection of earmark data, the site recently began offering top earmark hunters an Amazon Kindle and other prizes.
The result has been an enthusiastic response from Americans concerned with earmarks. “People want to know how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Jim Harper, webmaster of WashingtonWatch.com. “They’re leery of money going to special projects and eager to do something about it.”
The earmark data collection project was partially funded by the Sunlight Foundation. The contest continues until all earmarks are collected or the beginning of the fiscal year, whichever comes first.
WashingtonWatch.com uses government predictions about the costs or savings from proposed laws to calculate the significance to average Americans — in dollars and cents — of proposed changes to the nation’s policies. More information about these calculations is available on the “about” page of the Web site.