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OGD: Reviewing EPA’s interactive datasets

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The Environmental Protection Agency has been ahead of several other cabinet level agencies when it comes to putting data online. For several years now some of their main datasets are available with interactive features such as maps and in a downloadable format. Now according to EPA’s open government plan, the agency is planning on releasing several new data driven projects by the end of 2010, some of which are already public.

The first, managed by Horizon Systems is a suite geospatial data that compiles the features of several databases related to watershed management. This project part of which which ...

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New TARP watchdog report cites poor progress and several fraud investigations

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The Office of the Special Inspector General of the Troubles Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) released a quarterly report today stating that although, Wall Street is beginning to regain its footing, Main Street has been showing “disturbingly persistent” signs of distress. 

While, TARP recipients have paid back $180.8 billion, taxpayers are still expected to shoulder a $127 billion loss. The losses incurred come from the $50 billion given to AIG, the $31 billion to the automotive industry and $49 to the housing market. 

According to the report even though "the financial system appears to be stabilizing and record profits are ...

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Local goverment contractors receive billions in 2010

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One of the largest government contracts for 2010 thus far was awarded to two companies in the DC metro area to process non-immigrant visa applications. The $2.8 billion, 10-year State Department contract went to Computer Sciences Corp., a small business based in Laurel, Md., and Stanley Associates based in Arlington, Va.

Computer Sciences Corp. has received more than $1 billion for fiscal year 2010 alone with more than 880 transactions. In 2009, the company received $4.2 billion dollars in federal contracts. So far in fiscal year 2010, Stanley Associates has been awarded $97 million, and in the last ...

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Bailout watchdog criticizes home loan program

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A year after the $75 billion program to reduce mortgage payments under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) went into effect, a recent audit report criticized  the outcome of the program as "disappointing." So far, out of the million trial mortgage modifications, under which homeowners can have their mortgage payment reduced for three months, only 168,000 loans have been permanently reduced falling drastically short of the 3 to 4 million initial goal of the Department of Treasury.


According to the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program audit Treasury admitted its goals of the HAMP program have ...

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Available on paper: Government records on jobs lost to foreign trade hard to access

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In December 2009, Bristol Myers Squib, a biopharmaceutical company with international operations, told employees at two Indiana plants that 75 to 100 of them would need to seek other work. In February 2010, HSBC, the British financial firm that bills itself as the "world's local bank," laid off 20 full-time customer service representatives who processed loan modifications in a Kentucky town named, ironically enough, London. Some 125 workers who built and assembled truck cabs for 18 wheelers at Mayflower Vehicle Systems in Norwalk, Ohio, saw their workplace shut its doors in April 2010.

A few hundred layoffs in a ...

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Senate committee calls for tighter regulations on property, bank accounts of foreign politicians

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The subcommittee's 325-page report found that U.S. bankers, lawyers, real estate agents and escrows overlooked foreign political officials moving millions of dollars into the country. For years, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the 40-year-old eldest son of Equatorial Guinea's president was using U.S. banks to move $110 million. Obiang Mangue, also the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the oil and timber rich western African country, used U.S. financial institutions, including Wachovia Bank, Citibank, Union Bank of California and Bank of America to move money through five shell companies, attorney-clients and other accounts.

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OGD: Department of the Interior

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Two of the other data sets released Friday, probably the ones most useful to the public, the volunteer opportunities and the recreation data sets are already available online here and here in a better and usable format compared to the XML downloads on data.gov.

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TARP Money Funds More Politically-Savvy Banks

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Under-performing banks that are politically connected received more bailout funds, according to a study by the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

According to the report, banks located in districts with House members serving on financial committees had a 26 percent increase in the funding they received under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Likewise, bank executives holding a board seat at a Federal Reserve Bank increased their likelihood of receiving bailout money by 31 percent.

Applications for the largest TARP initiative, the Capital Purchase Program, are reviewed by the Federal Reserve--presenting a potential conflict of interest when bank ...

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