Congress and the Executive Branch should focus on making the work of lobbyists and other paid influencers more transparent.
Money in Politics Disclosure
To uncover the levers of access and influence in Congress and the White House, real time online disclosure of money in politics must become the standard.
- Enact Legislation to Disclose Dark Money in Elections
- Appoint FEC Commissioners Committed to Transparency
- The IRS Should Tighten and Enforce Rules Regarding Electioneering Activities of Nonprofits
- The SEC Should Require Companies to Disclose Political Spending
- Improve the FCC's Political File Database
- Mandate Disclosure of Tax Returns and Bundlers by Presidential Candidates
- Enact Legislation to Disclose Corporate Political Spending to Shareholders
- Require Senators to Electronically File Campaign Finance Disclosure Reports
There is a wealth of government data that must be made accessible to the public.
- Create an Index of Federal Agencies' Major Datasets
- Enact the Public Online Information Act
- Enact the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act
- Make Congressional Research Service Reports Publicly Available
- Implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act
- Adopt FOIA Reforms
- Review the Personal Financial Disclosure System
- Report Earmark Requests from Congress Online
Implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act
The federal government should implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, establishing an open and accountable system for tracking every dollar that the federal government spends.
The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act expands the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) to fully disclose Federal agency expenditures so taxpayers and policy makers can view the full cycle of spending for Federal funds. It also requires that Federal data be analyzed to prevent waste, fraud, abuse and improper payments and it takes steps to simplify financial reporting and improve the quality of the spending data. DATA would:
- Make Federal Spending Transparent: DATA expands FFATA to include spending data for all federal funds by appropriation, federal agency, sub-agency, account, program activity, object class, and maintains current reporting for federal awards like contracts, grants and loans. This expansion of USASpending.gov will allow policy makers and the public to track federal funds more clearly and link spending to budget priorities.
- Set Government-wide Financial Data Standards: To improve data quality, the Department of Treasury, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget and other government agencies, has established financial data standards for the Federal agencies creating a single framework to be used across the government to make it easier to compare federal spending.
- Establish the Federal Accountability Spending Transparency (FAST) Board: A five member interagency advisory board will report to Congress on ways to enhance federal spending transparency.
- Reduce Recipient Reporting Requirements: This law requires the Office of Management and Budget to streamline the existing Federal award recipient financial reporting to reduce compliance costs based on the new financial data standards.
- Use Data to Prevent Waste: The Department of Treasury will analyze the data collected to prevent improper payments before or after disbursements are made and share analysis with agencies to prevent waste, fraud and abuse. Treasury should be provided access to other Federal data sources needed to conduct the financial analysis.
- Improve Data Quality: The Inspectors General at each agency are required to provide a report every two years on the quality and accuracy of the financial data provided to USASpending.gov. The Government Accountability Office will also provide a report every two years following the Inspectors Generals findings to create a government-wide scorecard on the data quality and accuracy of the financial data reported.