Spending Transparency Bill DATA Act Inches Toward House Vote

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In anticipation of a House vote, today a major transparency bill was posted online for public comment by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (i.e. the DATA Act) is landmark legislation that would transform how taxpayers and watchdogs monitor how public money is spent. The Committee published a draft manager’s amendment, which is the text of the bill likely to be considered on the floor.

The DATA Act creates an independent board responsible for publishing and monitoring federal spending, and establishes consistent government-wide financial data reporting standards. As we’ve noted in our Clearspending reports, the federal government currently does a poor job of tracking and releasing spending data, and the DATA Act would make a major difference.

Ten organizations (including Sunlight) wrote in support of the DATA Act last June, but at the time we had a few concerns. At first glance, they have all been addressed.

We commend Chairman Issa for publishing the draft legislation on the committee’s website for public comment. Using its Madison platform, everyone can see each others comments. This is a smart move towards a fascinating model of collaborative legislating.

We will have more to say in the upcoming days regarding the DATA Act. For now, we commend the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for undertaking such a sustained effort to create this landmark transparency legislation and we hope it will be speedily considered by the House of Representatives. Having already garnered bipartisan support, and with companion legislation in the Senate introduced by Senator Warner, we hope it is on its way to becoming law.

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