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Tag Archive: GAO

Just How Bad Is it?

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It looks as if the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) could use Sunlight's database expertise.

Wired.com writes about a GAO report issued earlier this week that blasts the agency for doing an "appalling job" of tracking, responding and resolving complaints regarding telecommunications services. GAO's report states:

Limitations in FCC's current approach for collecting and analyzing enforcement data constitute the principal challenge FCC faces in providing complete and accurate information on its enforcement program... Limitations in FCC's current approach for collecting and analyzing enforcement data constitute the principal challenge FCC faces in providing complete and accurate information on its enforcement program.

Rep. Ed Markey, chair of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, requested the investigation that focused on the agency's enforcement efforts between 2003 and 2006.

How bad is it? Bad.

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How Little Anyone Knows About Government Contracting…and Why It Matters

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Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a troubling report on the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) hiring of private contractors to assist in its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It really illustrates how little we know about government contracting and why the lack of transparency is a problem.

Imagine this. DoD doesn't even know how many private contractors it has on the payroll. AP reports that a senior defense official, in congressional testimony last month, estimated that there are about the same number of private contractors in each of the two war zones as there are American troops, 163,000 in Iraq and 36,500 in Afghanistan. But no one apparently knows for sure. The GAO found that private contractors outnumber DoD employees in some offices, and handle sensitive jobs like writing contracts and awarding fees.

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Transparency, via GAO and Academia

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Paul Blumenthal just came across this document from the GAO, transcribing a pithy speech by the Comptroller General of the United States, David Walker (the head of the GAO). Transparent Government and Access to Information: A Role for Supreme Audit Institutions provides a neat tour of the advantages of transparent public administration, from the viewpoint at the top of the nation's leading accountability officer.

(more after the jump.)

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Library of Congress Website Upgrade

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Via the Library of Congress blog, it looks like the LOC Website will be getting an upgrade in the coming weeks. They make a good point about choosing between providing RSS feeds and email updates, noting that many more people use email than RSS:

While only a fraction of people on the Web use RSS feeds, something like 100 percent of them use email, and this is just another part of our efforts to get information to people in the way that is most useful to them. You can get a sense for how the email updates will function by looking at the FBI’s Web site.

Happily, they’re not choosing between the two, and have a pretty broad set of RSS feeds already on offer on their RSS page.

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