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In this issue:
  • U.S. Comptroller General to Speak at DT 2014
     
  • FindTheBest Launches Congressional Directory
     
  • Guest Blog: Don't Lose Sleep Over $619 Billion
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Data Transparency 2014 to Feature U.S. Comptroller General


On Tuesday, Sept. 30, the Data Transparency Coalition and Workiva will host Data Transparency 2014, Washington's premier open data policy conference.

Data Transparency 2014 is heating up with a fresh round of speaker announcements exclusive for DT News subscribers! U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro will be delivering the afternoon keynote and newly minted OMB Controller Dave Mader will anchor the Open Data in Federal Spending: Executive Panel.
 
Additionally, the Data Transparency Coalition and Workiva are thrilled to announce that Matt Reed, Chief Counsel for the Office of Financial Research at the Treasury Department and Christina Ho, Executive Director for Data Transparency of the U.S. Treasury will be anchoring afternoon breakout sessions on financial regulatory reporting and federal financial reporting.
 
These fantastic speakers are joining Representative Patrick McHenry and Representative Carolyn Maloney, both members of the House Financial Services Committee, for a full day of open data discussions at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C.
 
New speakers are being added every day. Expect some big announcements after Labor Day! Check the brand new event website to get the latest information.
 
Make sure you are part of Data Transparency 2014 - get your ticket here.

 

FindTheBest Unveils New Congressional Staff Database
 
As reported by Politico, Data Transparency Coalition member, FindTheBest, recently launched a new Congressional Staff Directory with salary and expenditure data for congressional offices, committees and leadership staffers.
 
The directory, which is based on information from the Statement of Disbursements of the House and the Report of the Secretary of the Senate, is free to the public.
 
The directory also includes member voting history, campaign finance data and other contact information for members of Congress and staff. It also shows salary averages for various legislative positions and other aggregate data tools.
 
FindTheBest detailed some other interesting facts that they found from the data including who pays the most, and the least.

The Coalition supports policy reforms to standardize and publish all government information, allowing innovative companies like FindTheBest to launch new dissemination platforms like the Congressional Directory across all government data sets.

 
 

Guest Blog: Don't Lose Sleep Over $619 Billion

By Ari Hoffnung, Senior Adviser at Socrata, Inc. and formerly New York City Deputy Comptroller for Budget & Public Affairs.
 
Earlier this month a report from the Government Accountability Office found that the USASpending.gov website was missing more money than the combined net worth of the Top 10 people featured on this year’s Forbes Billionaires list.
 
In the words of the GAO:
 
"Although agencies generally reported required contract information, they did not properly report information on assistance awards (e.g., grants or loans), totaling approximately $619 billion in fiscal year 2012."
 
On one hand, $619 billion is a lot of money to be missing by anyone’s standards, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and the Koch brothers. On the other hand, there are several reasons why I would not lose sleep over the GAO’s findings.
 
First and foremost, this report is a good reminder that we live in a democracy strong enough to have an independent watchdog like the GAO, with the freedom to investigate how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. I'm not saying our democracy is perfect, but I feel fortunate to live in a country where the government's overall lack of financial transparency can be criticized by a government-funded entity. 
 
Second, the report reinforces the shortcomings of the current USASpending.gov website in the areas of data consistency and completeness that have been identified by advocates like those from the Sunlight Foundation’s clearspending.org project.

Read the rest at the DTC Blog.
 
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Other Data Transparency News

From FedWeek - Coburn Says Report Could Help Spur DATA Act Compliance

From Data Informed - Group Seeks Data Transparency in Government Contracts
 


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About Us

The Data Transparency Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, machine-readable data. Data transparency strengthens democratic accountability, enhances government management, reduces compliance costs, and stimulates innovation.
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