New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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GAO: New Contractor ID System Needed

When the federal government is handing out thousands of contracts to more than half a million contractors, it's important to have a robust system for tracking the companies that receive each contract. Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the federal government's use of a private, proprietary corporate identification system to track federal contractors and award recipients. Because corporations are continually acquiring new firms and/or merging with others, it is often difficult to keep track of which companies are actually responsible for the work the government has contracted out. The report recommended the government adopt a new approach to tracking this information.

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Whose Contracting Mess Won't Appear in FAPIIS, but Should?

They hate us for our freedoms.

Give yourself credit if you guessed "ArmorGroup North America Inc." (AGNA) and the "Lord of the Flies" environment they oversaw in the housing camp for U.S embassy guards in Kabul, Afghanistan, which our friends over at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) exposed back in 2009.

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Campaign to Cut Waste Uses Recovery Tools to Improve Performance, but Challenges Remain

On June 13, President Obama signed an executive order (E.O.) initiating the "Campaign to Cut Waste." The E.O., titled "Delivering an Efficient, Effective, and Accountable Government," builds on many of the administration’s previous reforms while borrowing some of the better tools developed to execute and oversee the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). However, its impact may be reduced due to recent budget cuts to a key government transparency fund.

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OMB Properly Addressing Improper Payments

On May 23, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced the launch of four new pilot projects designed to further crack down on improper payments from the federal government. The projects focus on implementing best practices and sharing information across state and local governments that help administer payment programs in the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Agriculture (USDA), Labor (DOL), and Treasury.

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The Transparency-Killing Budget

Progress toward increased government transparency will stall, and in some cases reverse, according to new details about the damage stemming from recent federal budget cuts. Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra explained the cuts' impact on key transparency and technology projects in a May 24 letter to Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE).

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New Executive Order Could Improve Government Websites

On April 27, President Obama signed Executive Order 13571, entitled "Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service." Building on a Clinton-era order, E.O. 13571 requires agencies to develop plans to make their customer service more efficient and effective. Agencies have to publish their plans online within 180 days.

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Agency Performance Modernization Points toward Increased Government Efficiency

In January, President Obama signed the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRA Modernization Act), updating a nearly 20-year-old law in an effort to increase government efficiency through funding choices. In April, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued its first directives to federal agencies on how to implement the new legislation, and Congress has begun to conduct oversight related to the measure.

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FAPIIS is a Steaming Pile

On April 15, the government finally made the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) available to the public. Reviews of the previously secret database have been harsh – Tom Lee at the Sunlight Foundation said, "FAPIIS may be the worst government website [I've] ever seen" – and after perusing the site last week, this blogger sees no reason to question that assessment.

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White House Unveils Taxpayer Receipt

Today – on what would be Tax Day, had it not been delayed by Washington, DC's Emanicipation Day holiday – the White House released a new taxpayer receipt tool.

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Improper Payments Provide Opportunity, Challenge to Administration

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, the federal government disbursed a little more than $125 billion in improper payments to the public, up from roughly $110 billion in FY 2009. Though total improper payment dollars have increased, the federal government is getting better at preventing these wasteful disbursements. Indeed, most federal agencies are only now finalizing implementation of the Obama administration's improper payments reduction effort, which began in late 2009.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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