One thing all cities MUST do, and three questions to ask before signing an agreement with a smart cities vendor.Continue reading
How do other countries perform when it comes to procurement transparency?
The first thing to admit is that the title of this post might be a bit misleading. While in the last few months Sunlight was indeed busy researching procurement transparency on many different levels, we’ve never had the intention (or the power) to do holistic international research on procurement transparency, nor did we want to rank countries based on their performance. This would have been an endless - and probably pointless - effort. Our motive behind mapping the global landscape of procurement disclosure trends was to find best practices, powerful online tools and also to gain inspiration for Sunlight’s recently released open data guidelines for procurements.Continue reading
Online Contracts Monitoring: First Year Lessons Learned
Sunlight’s International Fellow presents an up-for-grabs contracts monitoring platform and year-one takeaways. In late 2011, the government in the small country of Slovakia took a bold policy step mandating almost all public contracts and invoices be published online. A reaction to series of scandals this was done in hopes of bringing unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability (read more here). However, the official portal government launched in early 2012 was half-baked, missing full-text search, documents preview or space for comments. While the policy produced more data (“transparency,” if you will), it left accountability untouched.Continue reading
Campaign contributions help companies get more federal contracts, study finds
In 2011, the U.S. federal government awarded $537 billion in private contracts. If U.S. federal contracts were their own national... View ArticleContinue reading
Obama, Energy Policy, & Favored Firms
President Barack Obama is going to speak today about energy policy. I’m not sure if this is going to come... View ArticleContinue reading
Search new Subsidyscope database on federal aid to nonprofits
In fiscal year 2008, the federal government gave $38 billion in grants to nonprofit entities and spent $10 billion on non-competed contracts with nonprofits. Billions were also taken in tax expenditures benefiting nonprofits, representing foregone revenues of $50 billion in 2008.
Excluding contracts, that means that the average U.S. household spent $430 a year on programs to nonprofit entities such as universities, hospitals and charities in 2008.
Loans and loan guarantees made by the government, known as risk transfers, also represent a subsidy. In 2008, the federal government lent at more than $7 billion to ... Continue reading
Hearing on Contractor Database Transparency
If you’ve ever tried to research federal contracts you’ll find that the databases used to house those contracts online are... View ArticleContinue reading
Crowdsourcing a Legislative Oops
Rep. Alan Grayson is taking advantage of a legislative misfire by overzealous lawmakers. And he’s asking anyone out there to... View ArticleContinue reading
Lunchtime Link Round-Up
Some open government/transparency posts from around the web: The Food and Drug Administration, in conjunction with their Transparency Task Force,... View ArticleContinue reading
Where to find stimulus contracts
A company that offers outsourcing services to federal and state governments got a a contract award for $2.8 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- the stimulus -- to set up call centers for the FCC's digital transition effort; they advertised for jobs paying $16.38 an hour in Buffalo, N.Y. The Dept. of Health and Human Services spent $326,000 in stimulus funds to purchase and install 98 workstations (and an option to store them until needed at a cost of $35 per pallet); a Midland, MI-based company, Space, Inc., got the sale. And ...Continue reading