WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today voted to support the "Earmark Transparency Act of 2010," which was approved by the full Committee by a vote of 11-5. The legislation would set up a user-friendly, online database taxpayers can use to sort, search and download earmark data. Senator Collins is a cosponsor of the bipartisan bill, which was introduced by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

"I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill, which will shine even more light on the process by creating a single, searchable database on earmarks," said Senator Collins. "Our government must function on the core principles of accountability, transparency and openness. This bill will help make that happen in a very tangible way."

The bill will now be sent to the full Senate. The Earmark Transparency Act of 2010 would do the following:

• Create a user-friendly, online database – it first ever database where citizens can sort, search and download earmark requests and final approved projects.

• Provide details that currently available to the public: including the amount of initial request, amount approved by the committee, amount approved in final legislation, sponsor name, sponsor state or district, project name, and other relevant information;

• Allow the public to see what Congress sees – The bill would require the website to include the earmark request letter written by a member of Congress and any documents supporting the request that is sent to a congressional committee; and

• Make information available quicker – it would, consistent with the President’s speech, require all requested earmarks that are approved to be made public before a vote.