Yesterday Majority Leader Eric Cantor launched his Citizen CoSponsor Project, an electronic platform that allows citizens to show their support for legislation and receive updates as bills move through the House of Representatives. The Majority Leader selected six bills to be featured. One of these six is the DATA Act.
The DATA Act will bring transparency and accountability to government spending by establishing consistent electronic identifiers and markup languages for the reports that federal grantees, contractors, and agencies submit to central databases. This information – covering every agency, every program, every grant, every contract, every internal disbursement – will be standardized and available online for anyone to scrutinize, search, and download. Using this new data set –
- Federal watchdogs will use sophisticated searches to find indicators that a contractor or a grantee might be defrauding taxpayers.
- Civic organizations will spotlight wasteful spending.
- Reporters break stories about crooked politicians.
- Voters will judge whether government programs are working well or not.
- Technology companies will build new apps and invent new, creative ways to display and think about government spending.
- Federal agencies will track their programs’ spending and performance over time to inform their management decisions.
- Congress will have more data to inform decisions about whether to increase or decrease program appropriations.
The DATA Act is already cosponsored by many Republican and Democratic members of Congress.
The DATA Act been endorsed by the Sunlight Foundation, XBRL US, the Project on Government Oversight, American Library Association, the American Institute of CPAs, Americans for Tax Reform, the Institute of Management Accountants, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and many other companies, civic organizations, and standards groups. Watch this space in coming days for more on how the DATA Act will transform federal spending information.