The launch of OMB's USASpending.gov, based on the Sunlight funded FedSpending.org, is a huge accomplishment worth celebrating. The Washington Post's story talks about the strange bedfellows that made it happen:
Robert Shea is a Republican insider with a head for business and a yen for federal program performance standards. Gary Bass is a government watchdog with a mean bite who wants openness and knows how to get it.
Official antagonists, political opposites, brought together by a wild, crazy idea: federal budget transparency. Online and searchable. Free for the asking....
Official antagonists, political opposites, brought together by a wild, crazy idea: federal budget transparency. Online and searchable. Free for the asking.
We're pleased to have been ahead of this curve -- and one of the prime catalysts for it. At the recent celebration of the one year successes of FedSpending.org (hosted by its creator OMB Watch), it was noted that over 5 million searches of the data occured in the last 12 months. That's not visits or hits, that's actual searches for the data! Now that's some success. At that event, Robert Shea of OMB also promised that the government data would be made available with programming interfaces to make it easy for developers and technologically sophisticated citizens to use the data in ways yet to be imagined. How nice that this government agency really gets what transparency is all about.