Earlier this week I wrote about a discrepancy between the data in FedBizOpps and the data in USASpending.gov. It was my understanding that all contracts awarded by the government (worth over $25,000) and their solicitations would be reported to FedBizOpps and that the number of the contracts awarded would be in the same neighborhood as the number of contracts that the government reports to USASpending.gov. Instead, I discovered that in 2012 there were only 8,138 award notices and 18,546 solicitation notices in FedBizzOpps, while there were 178,375 contracts reported on in USASpending.gov. At the time of writing that post I was still waiting on a definitive response from the Office of Management and Budget or the General Services Administration.Continue reading
As part of our recent procurement initiative, I've been playing around with the data present in FedBizOpps, ( or FBO.gov) -- it’s the single point of entry for posting all government solicitations, award notices, and various other informational notices regarding government contracts. In short, all contracts awarded must be reported here. What is immediately striking is that the number of awards posted to FedBizOpps does not come even remotely close to the number of awards in USASpending.gov -- the database that tracks contract spending. FedBizOpps reports a mere 8,138 contracts awarded for 2012, while USASpending reports 178,375 contract awards for that same year. Common sense tells us that the number of contracts in each database should match. The fact that they don’t is a mystery at the moment, but the problem could be due to broadly defined exceptions, or even poor reporting and oversight as we've seen in other cases involving government reporting. In order to see specifics in the data and run an analysis, I extracted the data into a postgresql database. The data source I used is an XML file on fbo.gov's FTP server, which seems to include data from the last 13 years.Continue reading
A few weeks ago, our colleagues at the World Bank Institute held a highly informal and very motivating discussion on opening... View ArticleContinue reading
Corporate accountability can mean a lot of things. To some people, it’s tracking the political influence of corporations via campaign... View ArticleContinue reading
Congressional watchdogs have often criticized the online tool maintained by the General Services Administration to prevent the award of federal funds to banned individuals and companies. A Sunlight Reporting Group review of the sites data finds that it continues to be badly maintained, with rampant problems including omissions, inaccuracies and other data quality issues.
The Government Accountability Office examined the Excluded Party List System, which lists individuals and entities that are ineligible to receive federal contracts, some subcontracts and grants. The site allows procurement officers to check whether a potential contractor has been debarred, which can result from a contractor ...
Recovery.gov posted information today showing that 30,383 jobs have been created or saved by the federal contracts that have been awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. So far, $16 billion has been disbursed by 9,100 contracts. The federal government is spending more than $525,000 spent on every job they saved or created.
The release covers just a sliver of stimulus spending: Most recovery money is in the form of grants and loans to the states; data from that spending--including recipient and jobs data--will be available at the end of October. So far, federal contracts ...Continue reading
A long time ago, my grandmother-- born and raised in Albany, Georgia-- went to Germany for my brother's wedding. She'd never been outside the country before and was excited about the trip, and of course, her grandson's wedding. While she was there though, she had a bit of a problem communicating-- see, she didn't speak German. Her solution to the problem was instinctive but not logical-- just speak English loudly and slowly. Increase volume until there's understanding. One person she encountered over there responded to her by speaking German loudly and slowly.
Her response:Continue reading
Since I realized we dropped the ball and only heard about the uscode.house.gov opportunity with six days left, I've spent a good portion of the day figuring out how to find government contracts that relate to the web. It starts with FedBizOpps. That's where government releases publicly available contracts. In a later post I'll talk to you about how to tell if you're qualified and how to qualify (as soon as I figure it all out) but for right now, I thought I'd give you this little ScreenCast.Continue reading
We've decided to do something crazy. On Tuesday afternoon, someone handed us a copy of the Recovery.gov 2.0 RFP and we thought: what if we try something truly radical here. What if we opened up the process of government contracting by bidding on this thing? We together-- not just we meaning The Sunlight Foundation-- are going to bid on redoing Recovery.gov to learn more about the process of government contracting, and to try and build what is perhaps the biggest federal transparency-related website.Continue reading