Transparency for Government Contracts


When we created Sunlight we made a point to note that the issue of greater transparency for government actions was a nonpartisan issue. We saw support for it across party lines in our initial polling and we see it again today in an editorial in the conservative newspaper — the Examiner –which endorses transparency for government grants and contracts. The paper strongly supports Sen. Tom Coburn’s Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590) that would make all information about federal contracts and grants available to the public free of charge in a searchable, downloadable online format on the Internet. (Coburn is the original sponsor of the proposal, and the measure is co-sponsored by the unlikely bedfellows of Sens. Barack Obama, Tom Carper and John McCain, R-Ariz.)

Abraham Lincoln said, "Let the people know the facts and all will be safe," so the Great Emancipator would certainly cheer an unlikely group of United States senators who have recently joined forces to push a potentially landmark measure. That measure is designed to put every American citizen within a few mouse clicks of knowing the facts needed to track federal spending as never before.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

This legislation requires OMB to establish this database of all federal contracts and grants and requires free access to it. The database would contain comprehensive information about federal contracts; block, formula and project grants; cooperative agreements; direct, guaranteed and insured loans; direct payments; insurance and indirect financial assistance. 

The editorial mentions the grant that Sunlight has made a grant to OMB Watch to move forward in creating such a database in the absence of such legislation. Nothing would please them or us more than to have this information mandated by the government. That’s the way it should be. Join OMB Watch’s call to sign on to support the bipartisan legislation.