In a new round of reports, the U.S. Government Accountability Office and agency inspectors general found both progress and room for improvements on the implementation of the DATA Act.Continue reading
The Office of Management and Budget is pushing for changes that would gut the DATA Act, an important piece of federal spending legislation.Continue reading
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.
This is a guest post from Anthony Holley, a member of the intrepid Hack for Western Mass team that spent the weekend of June 1 trying to track money reported in USASpending.gov back to the federal budget. Anthony is a writer living and working in Amherst, MA. He is interested in helping good non-profits grow so that they can do their best work.
Advocacy groups like the Sunlight Foundation and National Priorities Project have long lamented the state of data gathered on USAspending.gov, which remains the key, searchable data repository for those interested in learning about and educating others on our federal spending. Individual federal agencies are responsible for reporting their expenditures to USAspending.gov in the interest of contributing to an open, transparent government. A working group at the Western Massachusetts Civic Day of Hacking sought to reconcile the information on USAspending.gov with the information in the budget appendix, published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), keeping in mind that true transparency means being able to track expenditures from the budget to USAspending.gov. A group of computer programmers, data managers, and political activists got together to work on this problem over the weekend of June 1 and 2. What we found was that this goal was at least very difficult, and perhaps impossible, to achieve.
We started by looking at the data on the OMB website to see if we could parse it for useful identifiers that we could then match up with the data on USAspending.gov. The data on the OMB website turns out to be particularly user unfriendly for these purposes, presented in XML and PDF formats that are not easy to search by category. Each section of the budget has a Treasury ID, so we took that as our starting point for trying to match expenditures listed on the budget with USASpending.gov.
Hack for Western Mass team. Photo credit: Molly McLeodContinue reading
Of the roughly 1,040 Pentagon procurement programs–the $99.3 billion part of the Defense budget devoted to purchasing new equipment–some 212... View ArticleContinue reading
By making a programmatic request asking for additional funding for line 3 of the Army aircraft procurement budget, a member... View ArticleContinue reading
The instructions are written in obscure Washingtonese that only an insider could understand: “Please include the applicable account and line... View ArticleContinue reading
It’s a little late, but it’s here! We’ve released an updated version of Clearspending with data that spans from 2009... View ArticleContinue reading
In 2009 the Washington Times reported that an investigation conducted by researchers at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity... View ArticleContinue reading
Today Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, spoke about his vision for improving open... View ArticleContinue reading