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January 26, 2016
Data Coalition News
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The latest: 
  • In Confirmation Hearings, Treasury and OMB Nominees Endorse DATA Act
  • Guest Blog: What the DATA Act Means for Anti-Fraud Analytics
  • Treasury's New DATA Act Video 

In Confirmation Hearings, Treasury and OMB Nominees Endorse DATA Act

President Donald Trump "has not shown a commitment to transparency - data transparency or any other kind," wrote Data Coalition Executive Director Hudson Hollister in a Medium post earlier this month.

But the President's nominees to lead the Treasury Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget have both told Senate panels they'll follow the DATA Act of 2014, which requires the federal government to publish all spending as open data.

Following a confirmation hearing January 19th in the Senate Banking Committee, Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin responded to follow-up questions on the DATA Act. In a transcript provided to the Data Coalition, Mnuchin promised to "work with the staff at Treasury to ensure that best practices and full compliance [with the DATA Act] are achieved."
Five days later, OMB director nominee Mick Mulvaney, during his own confirmation hearing, told Sen. Mike Enzi that the DATA Act's open data structure could be used by OMB for White House budget proposals in the future.

Mulvaney currently represents South Carolina's 5th District in the House of Representatives, and is expected to resign if he is confirmed as OMB director. In the 114th Congress, he served on the Government Operations Subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee, which held several hearings overseeing the executive branch's efforts to implement the DATA Act.

"President Trump's Treasury and OMB nominees seem to understand that federal spending information should be published as open data - not hidden within disconnected documents," said Hollister. "The DATA Act protects federal spending information from being withheld from the public. To ensure other crucial information remains open and transparent, we are calling on Congress to pass similar mandates, such as the OPEN Government Data Act, as soon as possible."
  • Watch Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin's Senate confirmation hearing here
  • Watch OMB Director nominee Rep. Mick Mulvaney's Senate confirmation hearings here and here.

What the DATA Act Means for Anti-Fraud Analytics

By Dave Williams, Former Inspector General, U.S. Postal Service

The U.S. government is now well underway on implementing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014  (Public Law No. 113-101 official text), or DATA Act. The open data law mandates all 24 CFO Act federal agencies to first standardize, then publish, their spending information on one centralized accounting platform. The first reporting deadline is just months away, May 2017.

The DATA Act is not an end, it’s a means.

The DATA Act is arriving in the nick of time. The years ahead are unlikely to be a period of budgetary growth. The government pretty much has the resources they are going to have. The threats facing the U.S., however, are growing and coming at us at the speed of blur in an unforgiving environment.

The law promises an array of benefits for government management and public transparency. But none as beneficial and powerful as data analytics.

At first, agencies resisted the law, but most have come around and accepted it, and have even embraced it. Soon agencies will be saying that they had asked for it for many years.

However, agencies are now in a dangerous, and familiar, phase of play. It is reminiscent of another time when the government was, as usual, behind the curve and battling money laundering. Congress passed anti-money laundering legislation in the 1970s and 1980s, which required reports of suspicious transactions and codified compliance measures. The law required all financial institutions to file Cash Transaction Reports (CTRs) and international Currency or Monetary Instruments Reports (CMIRs) for large currency transactions. They dutifully began doing so, and a tsunami of paper converged on the Treasury.

For several years, the CTRs piled up and were boxed in warehouses. After a few years, Congress asked a simple question - “What are you doing with all those reports?”

It turns out that Treasury barely had enough time to box and store them, let alone run data analytics.  

An important reform that should have been the basis for great celebration, was instead an embarrassment for the government and led to resentment on the part of those financial institutions that filed the reports. Congress was not pleased.
Continue reading Dave Williams' blog here.

Treasury's New DATA Act Video 

Earlier this month, the Treasury Department released a brand new informational video about the DATA Act. Treasury is one of two federal agencies in charge of implementing the open data law.

In the video you will hear senior government officials from across the Treasury Department, Small Business Administration, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Justice, and the private sector discuss the ins and outs of implementation. Check it out here
DATA Act

UPCOMING EVENTS

Esri's Federal GIS Conference, February 13-14: Join more than 4,000 federal professionals to explore ground-breaking ways all levels of government use geospatial technology to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Esri offers a proven commercial geospatial platform that is already in use across the Federal Government and is immediately available for use by all agencies. ArcGIS meets government requirements for open, interoperable, secure and commercial-off-the-shelf software. Register here!
Financial Data Summit 2017, March 16: Join us and Donnelley Financial Solutions for the third annual Financial Data Summit. The Summit is an all day event and will be held at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C.

Attendees will be from across the government, advocacy, tech and financial sector. The Financial Data Summit's main policy focus will be how U.S. regulatory entities can standardized data across their reporting regimes. Registration is now open!

Need accommodation for the Summit? The Data Coalition has rooms blocks available at the JW Marriott. Reserve your room here

Learn more about sponsorship opportunities here or contact sarahjoy.hays@datacoalition.org.
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Trump's pick for OMB sounds enthusiastic about the Data Act
Mulvaney: DATA Act crucial for sorting out federal spending
Sen. Warner calls for ‘deliberate speed’ in agencies’ DATA Act rollout

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The Data Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, open data.
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