Watching Government Opacity Melt Away, “Right before our Eyes!”


Vivek Kundra, federal CIO, and Macon Phillips, White House new media director, unveiled Office of Management and Budget’s IT dashboard this morning at the Personal Democracy Forum Conference in New York City. And the PDF attendees gave him a well-deserved standing ovation.

The dashboard was built to monitor more than $70 billion in government information technology spending, showing all contracts within every agency, and is one of the features of the redesigned, re-launched early this morning.

During the presentation, Kundra mentioned that launching a platform that will allow the government to tap into the best thinking and the best ideas. And Phillips added that it’s just the beginning. Kundra also admitted that announcing that the federal data will be available online to the public has spurred government bureaucrats to start cleaning it up, proving the rule that sunlight is the best disinfectant. The initial dashboard is for IT expenditures only. And I’d add, however, that if you want the data on the government investments in General Motors or AIG you’ll need to go to

In the question session, Andrew Rasiej, PDF co-founder and Sunlight senior technology advisor, asked Kundra if we should redefine “public” as “searchable, accessible and readable online. Kundra replied with an affirmative absolutely “yes.” As Jay Rosen, N.Y.U. journalism prof,  tweeted, “What we’ve been watching with CIO Vivek Kundra at #pdf09 is the undoing of the opacity agenda of the Bush years, right before our eyes!”’s Gautham Nagesh noted today that the site’s new visualization tools are a definite improvement. “It’s now possible with just a few clicks to see how much money an agency has invested in IT projects and what percentage of those projects are behind schedule or over budget,” Nagesh wrote.

We are told that OMB will be holding a press conference this afternoon at 3:30 (Eastern Time) to highlight the redesigned and the IT dashboard.

Check it out!