Today Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, spoke about his vision for improving open government and federal spending transparency at the O’Reilly Media 2011 Strata Summit. The Chairman focused his remarks on the DATA Act, the bipartisan legislation he introduced that would transform how government tracks federal spending and identifies waste, fraud, and abuse.
He emphasized the importance of making government data available online in real time so that innovative minds can immediately make use the information to build their own businesses. Business, in turn, would help the government identify program mismanagement and data quality problems. The Chairman specifically singled out Vice President Biden as a supporter of efforts to find a common solution to make data available in a systematic way.
In an ensuring Q&A with O’Reily Media’s Alex Howard, Chairman Issa explained that the private sector must step up as advocates for greater openness because they will benefit from building and using the tools made possible by greater transparency. He added when government drives down the cost of obtaining information, private individuals will derive value from the analysis of data, not its ownership.
The Chairman also addressed proposed cuts to the Electronic Government Fund, which supports many government transparency programs, saying that he doesn’t always agree with funding cuts. He added that he has an assurance from appropriators that they’re willing to listen when he makes that case that increased spending on transparency programs in the short term may save more money later. Accurate data will help drive down the inefficiencies of government.