Watchdog’s Recommendation Boosts DATA Act

Congress's watchdog office recommended that Congress pass legislation to advance federal spending transparency efforts across the government in a report released late last week. This is a major boon to advocates of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) of 2013 – legislation being considered by the House and the Senate.

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More Transparency Could Help Fight Fraud and Strengthen Medicare

On Sept. 5, the Center for Effective Government, along with 13 other organizations, filed comments calling for the disclosure of Medicare payments to medical providers. Releasing the amounts of Medicare funds paid to providers could help fight fraud and strengthen Medicare.

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Whistleblower Reveals U.S. Spy Agencies' Secret Budget

Details on the secret U.S. spy budget spilled into the public realm yesterday after The Washington Post published selective pages from the 16-agency intelligence community’s fiscal year 2012 congressional budget justification, leaked by former Booz Allen Hamilton employee Edward Snowden.

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Tax Reform Should Not Happen Behind Closed Doors

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) pledged to their colleagues in the Senate earlier this month that their tax reform proposals—namely on tax breaks and loopholes, both of great concern to corporate interests—would be kept secret for 50 years. In contrast, presidential records become accessible to the public after 12 years with certain exceptions.

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Key Transparency Fund Threatened Again in House Budget

A key fund for government transparency programs is once again facing cuts. On July 10, the House Financial Services and General Government appropriations subcommittee approved a bill that provides no funding for the Electronic Government Fund (E-Gov Fund), the driving force behind many recent open government innovations. Instead, the bill merges the E-Gov Fund with another fund and cuts their combined funding level 15 percent from last year.

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New Steps May Increase Transparency of Federal Contracts and Grants

A new policy could provide the public with better information about federal contracts and grants. On June 12, the Office of Federal Financial Management, a division of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued a memo directing agencies to improve the quality of data posted for public access on USAspending.gov.

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Transparency is Key for Sustainable Growth, Global Panel Says

Open and accountable government is key to successful development, according to a report by a United Nations (UN) panel released May 30. The report, titled A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development, was produced by a panel of global dignitaries at the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The report's emphasis on transparency represents the growing consensus among world leaders in favor of open government and could bolster support for transparency within the U.S.

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The Lack of Jobs Is the Problem, Not Deficits

Budget deficits are shrinking at a breakneck pace now and will continue to do so over the next several years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which released its latest projections on the budget and the economy on May 14. Meanwhile, we have anemic jobs growth that’s worse than it should be, in large part because of all the extreme deficit reduction measures we’ve seen over the last few years.

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Hang Together or Hang Separately: The Battle Against Austerity

Sequestration's automatic spending cuts were back in the news over the past few weeks. For a brief time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had to furlough employees, leading to nationwide flight delays. At roughly the same time, a researcher exposed major flaws in one of the key texts serving as an intellectual buttress to global austerity policies. While those fighting against economically damaging austerity measures received a boost from these events, many fiscal policy battles and pitfalls still lie ahead.

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How Do Giant Corporations Get Away with "Legal" Tax Cheating?

 

See how multinational corporations lobby to write their own tax laws. From We're Not Broke, the story of U.S. corporations dodging billions of dollars in income tax, and how seven fed-up Americans take their frustration to the streets ... and vow to make the corporations pay their fair share.

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