Open government nonprofits Cause of Action and Demand Progress have found that a Bush-era executive order banning earmarks needs more enforcement, and they are asking the Office of Management and Budget to help.

The groups sent an Oct. 7 letter to OMB director Shaun Donovan asking him to develop a rule to ensure that Executive Order 13457, signed in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush, is more widely enforced.

Related: Read the letter.

The executive order attempts to curtail the influence Congress has on agencies' discretionary spending by requiring congressional input to be submitted in writing and posted on the Internet.

But Cause of Action has said that an investigation done by the conservative nonprofit has found through Freedom-of-Information-Act requests that guidance from OMB was not clear enough to limit Congress' influence on the executive earmarks.

"Though it has repeatedly expressed great concern for transparency and openness, the Administration has not actually taken the steps needed to provide adequate transparency for discretionary spending decisions, much less prevent non-meritorious Executive Branch Earmarking," the letter said.

"As a result, OMB should provide greater clarity and guidance to agencies so that taxpayer dollars are used appropriately for the common good and not to reward partisan interests."

Cause of Action partnered with Demand Progress, an internet-activism nonprofit, to petition OMB for the rule change under provisions in the Administrative Procedure Act.

The groups are requesting that OMB reaffirm the order through rule changes that confirm that agencies are not obligated to congressional requests and requires them to make public the requests.

"The administration must add a measure of transparency to earmark requests received by executive branch agencies," said Demand Progress policy director Daniel Schuman, in a statement.

"Federal spending decisions should be made on merit and in the sunshine. There already is an executive order on the books that addresses secret calls and letters by Congress and special pleaders. It is time to enforce it."

Cause of Action had previously sued OMB in 2012 to get the FOIA requests on Executive Order 13457 and found no updated guidance has been provided for the order since 2009.

"Cause of Action's research shows that for years, federal agencies have been ignoring a binding executive order designed to protect taxpayer dollars from being misused," said Daniel Epstein, the group's executive director.

"Our organizations believe that Washington has a duty to the public to ensure that federal discretionary spending decisions are transparent and merit-based."

Officials from OMB were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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