Morning Cup: Design by (Oversight) Committee
This is the latest roundup from our stimulus blog.
- If you want stimulus transparency done right, you've got to do it yourself, or at least that seems to be the thinking in Pennsylvania. Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, hired Ronald J. Naples, a former chemical executive and Philly Fed chairman, to watchdog stimulus spending and lead a 14-member oversight committee. At $120,000 a year for the part-time post, Naples has himself become something of a stimulus project. Meanwhile, a Republican state senator has offered a competing plan to create a parallel oversight commission.
- An unlikely alliance has formed among a professional lobbyists' league, the ACLU and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington over their shared objections to stimulus gag rules. The rules ban lobbyists -- such as those employed by small towns like Glenview, Ill., with little experience navigating Washington -- from talking to government officials about specific stimulus projects. They can still chat about general policy issues, but the groups say Obama's lobbying crackdown violates their First Amendment right to speech.
Project of the day: A $75,000 bus garage to house two roving buses that are dispatched to Marshfield, Mo., residents when they call for a ride.
Officials have struggled to spend the nearly $800 billion stimulus package quickly and effectively.