The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 December 2004

Snert and Ernie

From the Department of Half a Loaf:

A mid-level House aide said yesterday that he was the one who, during last month's drafting of a huge spending bill, added a provision that could give staffers on the House and Senate appropriations committees broad access to Americans' tax returns.

Richard E. Efford, a 19-year veteran of the House Appropriations Committee, said he did not inform any elected official before inserting the provision and advised his immediate boss, Rep. Ernest J. Istook Jr. (R-Okla.), only after it was too late to make changes.

Per The Washington Post.

Predicted here:

Istook doesn't have anything to worry about; even if he's named as the culprit, some staffer will be sacked and things will be forgotten the next day.

Mr Efford, so far, still has his job, thus "half a loaf."

More bothersome, though, is this (same WaPo article):

[Efford] said other House and Senate appropriations staffers in both parties were aware of the provision, however, and believed it gave them needed authority to enter facilities of the Internal Revenue Service to inspect how taxpayer funds were being used.

"I would guess we all thought it was a housekeeping thing that would help our bosses but did not need to be elevated up to them," said Efford, who described himself as "dumbfounded" by the uproar.

Apparently nobody on Committee staff gives the farging stuff more than a perfunctory once-over after it's written.

(Via Cam Edwards' sidekick Farrah. Oh, and this is a "snert".)

Posted at 1:49 PM to Political Science Fiction


The first time I recall seeing the word "Snert" was in, I believe, a Hagar the Horrible comic strip. Hagar was asked how to spell his dog's name (I don't remember the name of the dog.) and he replied "S - N - E - R - T".

At the time, it was funny as there were no letters in common. It had no relevance to anything else, either.

Posted by: unimpressed at 3:37 PM on 5 December 2004

It didn't have much relevance here except as a punchline in the title, and as we all know, I work way too hard to get punchlines in the title.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:45 PM on 5 December 2004

Like you, CG, I don't know many jokes worth telling..

--But I've met a few in person..

Posted by: Captain And at 8:14 PM on 5 December 2004

"Dumbfounded" because there was an uproar over a bill being changed by someone who wasn't elected to be able to do that?

Efford should be sacked, and Istook should be booted for having failed to sack him the first time around.

Dammit, we have a Constitution in this country!

Posted by: McGehee at 7:11 AM on 6 December 2004

Sadly, and this recent "election" seems to prove it beyond a doubt, America has the best politicians money can buy, as well as some of the worst..

--And, laughably, some damned fools as well..

Posted by: Captain And at 7:56 AM on 6 December 2004

Yeah, some staffer did it without Istook's knowledge ... and hey, Santa Clause is coming any minute now ...... not.

Posted by: Ron at 11:01 PM on 7 December 2004