DATA Act Scheduled for Markup in House

Tomorrow morning the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will markup the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act). The DATA Act seeks to expand upon the Recovery Act by turning the temporary Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board into a permanent “Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Board” (FAST Board), which will have authority over all federal spending transparency and will administer The bill also expands upon the Recovery Act’s recipient reporting model, bringing it to the entire federal government.

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Our Six-Point Plan for Spending Transparency

As I wrote about yesterday in this post, last Friday the House Oversight Committee held a great hearing focusing on spending transparency. We submitted written testimony for the hearing, which you can read here. In it, we talk about the six changes Congress and the Obama administration should make to, the government's spending website which is based off of one of our websites,

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Transparency Hearing Highlights Spending Data Issues

Even though Sunshine Week is officially this week, the House of Representatives got the ball rolling last Friday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform (say that ten times fast) held a hearing called "Transparency Through Technology: Evaluating Federal Open-Government Initiatives," although the hearing focused more on spending transparency than anything else. While one would expect that an oversight hearing in the House “evaluating” the Obama administration’s transparency efforts would be contentious, the most surprising aspect of the hearing was that it wasn’t.

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Administration Backpedals on Key Transparency Initiative

Transparency, apparently, has its limits.

The Obama administration might be reducing contract spending, but don't expect the contracts the government signs to show up online anytime soon. Withdrawing a proposal made last May, the administration quietly announced yesterday that it's abandoning what has turned out to be a tepid examination of posting federal contracts online.

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Pettiness Creates Bad Tax Policy

My tax policies leave this much to be desired

Earlier this month, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced legislation that would require the government to fire federal workers who fail to pay their taxes, and prevent the government from hiring those with "seriously delinquent tax debts." According to Chaffetz, his proposal is perfectly in keeping with President Obama's recent effort to prevent tax delinquent companies from winning government contracts. Chaffetz's reasoning, however, is grossly oversimplified, and his bill, which is resultantly flawed, looks like a knee-jerk attempt at retribution for the private sector.

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House Committee to Hold Hearing on Army Contracting Scandal

U.S. Army

Back in August, I wrote a post on a WaPo article about George Raymond, a former Army official with the Communications-Electronic Command (CECOM), and allegations that Raymond steered government contracts to his friends and then broke ethics rules by taking a comfortable job in the contracting industry afterwards. The Post is now reporting that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – which has been investigating the matter since the story broke – recently requested all documents, emails, and material related to the $200 million worth of CECOM technology contracts that Raymond allegedly steered to friends.

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After the Hearing: Notes on Stimulus Oversight

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held its first stimulus oversight hearing in months today, this one focused on reviewing the first round of recipient reporting under the Recovery Act. The hearing featured testimony from Earl Devaney, Chairman of the Recovery Board, Gene Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office, and undersecretaries from the Departments of Education and Transportation. Here's a quick breakdown of the few news nuggets from Dodaro and Devaney in today's hearing:

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House to Hold Recovery Act Oversight Hearing Tomorrow

In case it wasn't clear in my last post, tomorrow, Nov. 19, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be holding a stimulus oversight hearing. It will be the Committee's fifth Recovery Act hearing, the first serious stimulus oversight hearing in Congress since this past July. The hearing, called "Tracking the Money: How Recovery Act Recipients Account for Their Use of Stimulus Dollars," has the usual cast of characters, in that both Earl Devaney, Chairman of the Recovery Board, and Gene Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office, will both be testifying, along with representatives from the Departments of Transportation and Education. Hopefully the hearing will be better than the last Congressional hearing on the Recovery Act, which wasn't all that useful.

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House Committee to Investigate Federal Procurement System

U.S. Congress

Yesterday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-NY), announced that it "is conducting a broad investigation of problems with the Federal procurement system." The announcement states that as part of the investigation, the committee is examining the suspicious events surrounding contracts awarded by the Army's Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) uncovered in a recent Washington Post exposé.

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