Leaked Documents Reveal Effort to Undermine Bipartisan Federal Spending Transparency Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC — The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been engaged in an effort to jettison several key provisions from a new Senate version of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), according to documents obtained by Federal News Radio. The White House OMB’s proposed revisions come as Senators seek to approve the federal spending transparency bill following its 388-1 passage by the House of Representatives in November 2013.
“Federal spending data could become a valuable public resource — both for our democracy and those seeking new high-tech business opportunities — if it is fully standardized and published under the DATA Act,” said Hudson Hollister, the Executive Director of the Data Transparency Coalition. “Unfortunately, OMB’s proposed revisions would nullify the bill’s main purpose to standardize and publish government data, contrary to the clear consensus that has brought together both parties, both chambers, and advocacy groups across the political spectrum. We cannot support the DATA Act if it becomes a dead letter. We hope that President Obama will clarify that he supports real reform that meets the principles expressed in his own Open Data Policy.”
Among the suggested revisions opposed by the Data Transparency Coalition are the removal of mandates for the standardization and consolidation of published information; the excision of expenditure transparency, internal usage of the data within government, and Congressional power to hold agencies accountable for data quality from the list of the bill’s purposes; and the placement of OMB–an apparent DATA Act opponent–in control of the law’s implementation in lieu of the Treasury Department. President Obama has not said whether he would sign or veto the bill if it were passed by both houses of Congress.