The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) (PL 113-101) requires the federal government to standardize and publish all executive-branch financial account and award spending information as open data. Every federal agency began reporting quarterly financial and weekly spending information as open data in May 2017. The U.S. Treasury must finalize the standardized publication of this spending information by May 2018. The DATA Act also directed the White House to pilot how the use of standardized data formats can improve the reporting process for recipients of federal grants and contracts.
The Coalition will encourage continued Congressional oversight on the DATA Act’s implementation, advocate for DATA Act expansion legislation, and educate stakeholders on accessing and using this new open data resource.
By integrating data-driven processes into government management, policy makers and executive leadership can deliver effectiveness and accountability. Data standards, starting with those set by the DATA Act and building outward, will enable such data-driven decision making
Support DATA Act Implementation Through Congressional Oversight. The Coalition will encourage vigorous Congressional oversight to ensure agencies’ DATA Act reporting is complete and of high-quality agency reporting. The Coalition will encourage Congressional use of DATA Act data to inform legislative decisions. The Coalition will seek Congressional recognition that the DATA Act Information Model Schema (DAIMS) serves as the primary government-wide administrative data standards.
Pursue DATA Act Expansion Legislation. To achieve the full vision of the DATA Act, the Coalition will seek the introduction of expansion legislation. The Coalition will pursue the following expansions, either through a single bill or smaller, stand-alone legislative actions:
(A) Extending the DATA Act’s data structure to cover all spending information, including category management, sub-award reporting, checkbook-level payments, performance reporting, Presidential budgets, appropriations bills, and special types of transactions and funds;
(B) Providing for the permanent, sustainable governance of the DATA Act’s data structure;
(C) Phasing out legacy reporting requirements that are duplicative of DATA Act reporting;
(D) Centralizing authority within the U.S. Treasury for data standardization and reports related to spending; and
(E) Creating a government-wide data analytics platform within the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) to use spending data to illuminate and eliminate waste and fraud.
End Dependence on the DUNS Number. The Coalition will advocate for an end to the government’s sole reliance on the proprietary DUNS Number for identifying grantees and contractors. Instead, a non-proprietary identifier should be adopted, or cross-referenced, across all federal agencies to improve program management and empower regulatory enforcement.
Support the Passage of the GREAT Act to Modernize Grant Reporting. The Coalition will support the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Assistance Transparency Act (GREAT Act), which will direct the OMB Director and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a comprehensive and standardized open data structure covering all post-award federal grant reports. The proposed legislation builds on the pilot program conducted by OMB under the DATA Act’s Section 5 to test the use of standardized data for grant reporting.
In the States: Encourage Spending Transparency and Open Data for CAFRs. The Coalition will continue to support state and local government efforts to create open spending data platforms, such as Ohio’s Online Checkbook, and seek ways to integrate these with federal DATA Act standardization work. The Coalition will continue to promote the standardization and publication of open data Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs).