Website created thanks to 2006 legislation to be unveiled on Thursday
WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than two weeks before the deadline of January 1, 2008 mandated by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, the Office of Management and Budget will unveil USASpending.gov this Thursday. USASpending.gov, also accessible at Federalspending.gov, is a spending database for federal grants and contracts above $25,000.
The legislation, passed thanks to the efforts of Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL), mandates that the database will include information such as the name and location of the awardees, the value of the award and a description of how the money is used. Taxpayer advocates welcome the launch of the website and are hoping this will be only the beginning of true transparency in federal government spending.
“USASpending.gov is a huge step in the right direction. Taxpayers are continually asked to put more money into government coffers, with little access to information on how their money is being spent. Finally, some light is being shed on some important expenditure categories. We would welcome additional improvements, such as the inclusion of the actual expenditure document, which so far is not required by law.” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The launch of the website at the federal level will spur the movement of transparency in government spending at the state and local level even further than the enabling legislation did.”
This year alone, five states (Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota and Hawaii) have passed legislation that mandates the creation of comprehensive websites for state expenditures. Several other states including Texas, Missouri and South Carolina have already taken executive action or are looking to do so. But the transparency in government spending movement is not limited to federal and state-level efforts. Currently 58 Texas school districts are posting their check registers online, with more districts expected to follow. Other states like Florida are also considering local transparency efforts.
“Our Founding Fathers were well aware that transparency in government spending is an important tenet of responsible governing,” said Norquist. “It took us a while to get it implemented, but now that we have made the start, we will have to work to take this movement to the next level. Americans for Tax Reform is looking forward to continuing to work with lawmakers and activists around the country to empower taxpayers to become fiscal watchdogs.”