The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, or DATA Act, is the nation’s first open data law. It requires the U.S. federal government to transform its spending information into open data.
President Barack Obama signed the DATA Act (Public Law No. 113-101 official text) into law on May 9, 2014. The Data Coalition had campaigned for the passage of the DATA Act ever since its founding in 2012. The DATA Act was structured as an amendment to a previous law, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Public Law No. 109-282 official text).
The DATA Act took two basic steps. First, it required the Treasury Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish government-wide data standards for the spending information that agencies report to Treasury, OMB, and the General Services Administration (GSA).
Second, Treasury and OMB must publish this standardized spending data for free access and download.
On May 9, 2017, every agency in the federal executive branch began reporting spending data using the standardized data structure that Treasury and OMB had established. Treasury published the full data set at beta.usaspending.gov.
The DATA Act also sought to standardize the information that recipients of federal funds, such as contractors and grantees, must report to the government. Section 5 of the DATA Act required OMB to run a pilot program to determine whether data standards might relieve compliance costs for recipients. The pilot program ended on May 9, 2017.
For current updates on the DATA Act, browse the Data Coalition’s latest DATA Act posts.