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...

read in full
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...

read in full
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...

read in full
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...

read in full
more news

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Spending Transparency Systems

As leaders of both parties in Congress obsess over cutting spending, it's no surprise that spending transparency has become an issue. Most recently, the House passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), a bill designed to increase the quantity, quality, and accessibility of federal spending information. The bill would be a leap forward in government openness, but it is only a beginning. A comprehensive system of federal spending transparency that enables citizens to hold government accountable must include a set of key elements, which we explore in this article.

read in full

DATA Act Passes House, Moves on to Senate

Today, the House passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act (H.R. 2146), by a voice vote with strong bipartisan support. The bill to strengthen the transparency of federal government spending was sponsored by Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and 13 other representatives.

read in full

OMB Watch Applauds House Passage of DATA Act

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2012—OMB Watch today applauded the House passage of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act (H.R. 2146). The bill to strengthen the transparency of federal government spending was approved by a voice vote with strong bipartisan support.

read in full

GAO Reports Defense Department Barely Moving toward a Comprehensive Service Contracts Database

Earlier in April, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the second in a series of new, congressionally mandated reports assessing the Department of Defense’s (DOD) efforts to compile an inventory of service contracts. Congress intends for the Pentagon to include these reviews in its yearly budget work and expects “inherently governmental work” currently performed by private contractors to be brought back “in-house.” This review process will help the Pentagon find ways to reduce costs and limit the over-reliance on contractors.

read in full

New CAP Papers Offer Contracting Reform Recommendations

The Center for American Progress (CAP) has released a series of three new papers on how the federal government can improve contracting through selective insourcing, better auditing, and increased transparency. Each paper contains specific recommendations that would help improve how Uncle Sam doles out contracting dollars and the return Americans could see on that spending.

read in full

States Releasing Information Online that Can Ensure Public Official Accountability

On March 19, OMB Watch released a new report that evaluates state and federal websites designed to ensure the accountability of public officials. The report, Upholding the Public's Trust: Key Features for Effective State Accountability Websites, examines state efforts to release public officials' integrity information online. Such transparency is crucial to guard against self-dealing and patronage. While states and the federal government have made progress in this area, more work lies ahead.

read in full

Study Shows Private Contractors Usually Cost More than Public Employees

Conventional wisdom in Washington dictates that the private sector can always provide services at a lower cost than the federal government. A new study from the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), however, turns conventional wisdom on its head, demonstrating that the government rarely reaps the purported benefits of lower costs through the outsourcing of service work. In fact, POGO found that, on average, the government pays service contractors more than 1.8 times the amount it pays federal employees with the same education, doing the same job and performing similar tasks.

read in full

Federal Agencies Release Retrospective Review Plans

On Aug. 23, federal agencies released their final plans for conducting retrospective reviews of regulations as directed by a January executive order from President Obama. Overall, the final plans closely reflect the preliminary plans released by agencies in May. Agencies stuck to their missions and did not cave to political or industry pressure to undermine their responsibilities to establish and enforce standards to protect the public.

read in full

CWC's Final Report: Make Investments in Contracting Oversight

On Aug. 31, the Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) released its final report to Congress, detailing contracting issues in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although most media outlets focused on the sensational estimates of funds lost through waste and fraud over the course of the wars – possibly totaling $60 billion – the report makes a much broader and compelling argument for systemic contracting reforms and better contractor oversight. With the current atmosphere of austerity on Capitol Hill, Congress should heed these recommendations.

read in full

How to Strengthen Transparency in the U.S. Open Government Plan

Yesterday, OMB Watch submitted its recommendations for the Obama administration's national plan for the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The administration will unveil its plan, with new concrete commitments to increase transparency, at the international OGP meeting on Sept. 20.

read in full


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...

read in full

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...

read in full
more resources