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What we learned at the DATA Act Summit – and why it was our last one

At the Data Coalition’s fourth annual DATA Act Summit, we no longer had to point to the future and predict the ways open spending data would benefit government and society. The future had come and the benefits were all around us – a world of new ways to visualize, analyze, and automate information about how taxpayers’ money is used. But we are never going to do this again. Here is why.

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Mnuchin’s Congressional Recommendations Point to Financial Transparency Act

On Tuesday, June 13th, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testified before the House Appropriations Committee in defense of the Treasury Department’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget request (see the request here). Mnuchin’s testimony showed an opening to standardize data fields and formats across the nation’s overlapping financial regulatory regimes – just as the Data Coalition has already been recommending to Congress.

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This data set took six years to create. Worth every moment.

Today, for the first time in history, the U.S. federal government’s spending information is one single, unified data set. Under a deadline set by the DATA Act of 2014, today every federal agency must begin reporting spending to the Treasury Department using a common data format. And Treasury has published it all online, in one piece, offering a single electronic view of the world’s largest organization. Today, we celebrate Darrell Issa, Mark Warner, Christina Ho, Tim Gribben, and all the other leaders who caught Jefferson’s dream of a single, unified federal spending data set, and didn’t let go.

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