Author Archive


A Government in Transition: From Documents to Data

The DATA Act is the first modern attempt to bring together three broad categories of federal spending reporting requirements: cash-based agency budgets, accrual-based accounting data, and award data. The open data law requires the federal government to define and apply standard data elements and a government-wide data format to all federal spending.


Guest Blog Post: Why the DATA Act’s New Data Standards Matter

Data standards in federal spending are no small task - given the complexity of federal appropriations and the multitude of spending by agency programs currently tracked through legacy systems that have been built over the past 25 years. Simply agreeing on terminology for terms used across contracts, grants, and loans is a significant step forward. But under the DATA Act, the federal government has done exactly that.


The DATA Act Doesn’t Require Big System Change. Here’s Why.

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) was passed by Congress to make federal spending data more transparent and accessible - not just to citizens, but to internal users as well. The law requires the Treasury Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), working together, to establish common data standards to govern financial and award information that all federal agencies must report.


Guest post from GovLoop: Open Data is More than Transparency

Open data is not just a conversation about government accountability or transparency. The argument surpasses politics, as was underlined this summer at the Data Transparency Coalition’s DATA Act Summit when Ralph Nader and Grover Norquist appeared together to speak in support of making government information searchable and accessible. The conversation is really about how we can make government work better.


Guest Post from the Sunlight Foundation: 47 groups rally around FOIA reform as bill moves to Senate floor

It's time for FOIA reform. The Sunlight Foundation is joined by 46 other public interest groups in making that call and celebrating the movement that's already happened. Some background: The House and Senate both passed FOIA reform last year. The Senate bill in particular was the product of months of negotiations, which pushed the process up until the last second. Despite some very real concessions – notably the loss of the public interest balancing test in the Senate version – some eleventh hour stalling tactics from agencies and, strangely, the banks they regulate, managed to stall the bill to death.


Guest post from the Aspen Institute: Obama’s FY 2016 Budget and a Federal Lawsuit Promote Open Data for Nonprofit Sector

President Obama released his FY 2016 budget this week, and there’s good news on the open data front: the Administration continues to press for mandatory electronic filing of the Form 990, the primary tax form for nonprofits. The form is as a critical source of information on the mission, governance, programs and finances of US nonprofits.


Guest post from Ari Hoffnung: Don’t Lose Sleep Over $619 Billion

We're much obliged to Ari Hoffnung, Senior Adviser at Coalition member Socrata, Inc., for this blog post. Socrata helps public sector organizations improve transparency, citizen service, and data-driven decision-making. Ari is a national leader in promoting financial transparency and previously served as the New York City Deputy Comptroller for Budget & Public Affairs. He was also the driving force behind the award-winning Checkbook NYC website.


FindTheBest makes U.S. contract data accessible–and previews the transformation the DATA Act might bring

This guest post by Nina Quattrocchi, a senior product associate at FindTheBest, explains how FindTheBest adds value to currently-available U.S. federal spending data–and how the DATA Act could deliver more accurate, more complete information for FindTheBest to publish for citizens’ use. FindTheBest is a Startup Member of the Data Transparency Coalition.