Seeking Transparency in Federal Funding

07.21.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A new legislative initiative (S. 2590) would require the government to disclose and to publish online all federal contracts, grants, and other forms of spending.

“I like to think of this bill as ‘Google for Government Spending’,” said Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

“The concept behind the bill is really quite simple: Put information on government spending out there for all to see and greater accountability will follow. It will also change the expectations of those receiving funds that they will know in advance that the information will be public,” he said.

The bill has neatly circumvented the usual partisan divisions and has won bipartisan support and co-sponsorship from the likes of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and endorsements from Greenpeace and the Heritage Foundation.

A July 18 Senate hearing on the proposal featured statements from Senators Coburn, Obama and McCain, and testimony from Gary D. Bass of OMB Watch and Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner and the blog Tapscott’s Copy Desk. See their prepared statements here.

The Los Angeles Times editorialized on the bill in “Googling the Feds,” July 21.