Since USASpending.gov's launch 6 years ago, the quality of financial data reported by agencies has worsened, said Tom Lee, director of the Sunlight Foundation's Sunlight Labs. "According to USASpending.gov the United States spent zero dollars on Medicare insurance and zero dollars on Medicare prescription drugs in 2011, 2012 and 2013," Lee told a Senate Committee.
The Government Accountability Office is concerned that the Government Accountability and Transparency Board is hamstrung because it has no dedicated funding, no role in actual policy implementation and has not developed mechanisms for obtaining input from non-federal fund recipients.
The office within the National Archives and Records Administration meant to review agency Freedom of Information Act policies and procedures hasn't really done so, says the Government Accountability Office. Those policies matter, because they control how agencies respond to document requests – but agencies can go for years without updating their procedures to accommodate new FOIA requirements.
Measured government spending on service contracts fell $48 billion in fiscal 2012 compared to its peak in 2009, a Sept. 3 Center for Strategic and International Studies report (.pdf) says. Total services contract obligation dropped to $308 billion from $356 billion in 2009, the report says. All dollars are inflation adjust for fiscal 2012.
Congress should continue making XML and bulk access to legislative data a priority recommends the Legislative Branch Bulk Data Task Force. In a task force report, dated Dec. 31, 2012 but only recently made public as part of the Legislative Branch appropriations bill (.pdf), the group requests authorization to continue overseeing congressional open data efforts.
In February 2012, the White House directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to convene stakeholders to develop codes of conduct that would specify how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies in certain contexts. In June 2012, NTIA announced that the first such process would address transparency in mobile application privacy.
During its summit in Northern Ireland, the G8 issued a declaration and signed an Open Data Charter on June 18, stating their intent to promote machine readable and publicly-available government data. The focus of the document echoes much of what is found in the Open Data Policy published by the White House May 9, and a U.K. strategy published June 2012. The endorsement from Russia, however, is more of a surprise.
Agencies should start assigning unique identification numbers to financial assistance awards such as grants to state and local governments and non-profit organizations – something they've already done for decades with contract awards – says a June 12 memo from the Office of Management and Budget.
Federal spending data systems have improved in recent years but still come up short in their efforts to fully inform the public on government spending, says a June 6 brief from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
An annual Justice Department Office of Information Policy report on agency Freedom of Information Act request processing shows mixed results when it comes to records releases. Data in the report also shows a decrease over the past 2 years in the percentage of completely unredacted records and an increase in the number of redacted records.