This morning I testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Technology and Information Policy about the failures of government to make rhetoric meet reality. The Sunlight Foundation has been excited about the new promises of data transparency, but sometimes the results are nowhere near the accuracy and completeness necessary for the data to be useful for the public.
Sunlight’s Clearspending analysis found that nearly $1.3 trillion of federal spending as reported on USASpending.gov was inaccurate. While there have been some improvements, little to no progress has been made to address the fundamental flaws in the data quality. Correcting the very complicated system of federal reporting for government spending is an enormous task. It has to be done because without it there is no hope for accountability.
In order to fulfill the promise of the Open Government Directive and move forward to meaningful spending disclosure I offered a number of recommendations to the committee. These include unique identifiers for government contracts and grants, publicly available hierarchical identifiers for recipients to follow interconnected entities and timely bulk access to all data.
A video of the hearing should be available shortly on the committee’s website and the entirety of my remarks appear below: