Yesterday, Congressman Mike Quigley kicked off Sunshine Week with the introduction of H.R. 1381, the Transparency in Government Act of 2015 (TGA). The legislation contains provisions that will continue the push for the federal government to become more transparent and manage itself more effectively through the use of technology. The Coalition applauds Congressman Quigley for taking this step forward and urges other Members of Congress to take up the cause of data transparency, which will further enable transparency, accountability, efficiency, and new opportunities for innovative tech companies.
The Transparency in Government Act of 2015
The TGA contains critical data transparency provisions that zero in on specific areas where transforming government information from disconnected paper-based and PDF documents into fully searchable open data will have the most impact. Three sections in particular, along with the whole TGA, represent huge strides for data transparency and victories within the Markets & Economy and Law & Regulation sections of the Coalition’s 2015 Policy Agenda.
SEC. 204. ELECTRONIC FORMAT [FOR LEGISLATION].
A section requiring both houses of Congress embrace a consistent data format for legislative information including bills, resolutions, orders, and votes. This provision makes it easier for citizens to research and track information related to Congressional business.
SEC. 605. IMPROVING E-FILING DATA COLLECTION AND DISTRIBUTION FOR NON-PROFITS.
A section requiring the IRS to expand e-filing to cover all non-profits and to both collect and publish non-profits’ 990 forms in a nonproprietary machine-readable format, which will create a window into the non-profit industry that doesn’t currently exist.
SEC. 608. GOVERNMENT-WIDE ENTITY IDENTIFIER.
A section requiring all agencies to require private sector entities from which they regularly collect reports, filings, forms, disclosures, etc., to obtain a government-wide, nonproprietary entity identifier number in order to report to the government.
The Coalition and its members will continue to work with Congressman Quigley to pass this valuable piece of legislation. Meanwhile, we will will also continue our campaign for the proper implementation of last year’s DATA Act and comprehensive legislation mandating data transparency in financial regulation.