Ten transparency organizations praised congressional and administration efforts to improve federal financial transparency in a letter sent earlier today. The organizations said the recently-introduced Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2011 (or DATA Act) would "revolutionize federal spending transparency," and also praised President Obama's June 13, 2011, Executive Order as an important transparency measure.
The DATA Act would establish a federal transparency board -- a successor to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board -- with the dual missions of expanding spending transparency to the entire government and identifying government-wide financial data standards. The legislation was introduced by Representative Darrell Issa in the House and Senator Mark Warner in the Senate. The DATA Act will be marked up by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform this Wednesday.
The Executive Order immediately establishes a Government Accountability and Transparency Board that, over the next six months, will develop a plan to integrate government spending data.
Neither the Executive Order nor the DATA Act are without flaws. Organizations are working to improve the DATA Act as it moves its way through the legislative process, with the most significant concern being its sunset after 7 years.
Last week, Sunlight Executive Director, Ellen Miller, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on federal spending transparency.
The letter is below.