April 21, 2016
Data Coalition News
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The latest:
  • Congress to Executive Branch: Don’t just “Go Through the Motions” on the DATA Act
  • Open Data and Oversight: How Data Standards Empower Anti-Fraud Analytics
  • The OPEN Government Data Act: A Sweeping Open Data Mandate for All Federal Information
  • How is the Government Spending your Money? Ohio's Figured it Out

Congress to Executive Branch: Don’t just “Go Through the Motions” on the DATA Act

On Tuesday, the Data Coalition commended the House Oversight Committee’s subcommittees on Information Technology and Government Operations on an effective oversight hearing on the implementation of the DATA Act of 2014, the nation’s first open data law. Jointly chaired by IT subcommittee chairman Will Hurd (R-TX) and Government Operations subcommittee chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC), the hearing revealed that federal agencies are on track to transform their spending information from disconnected documents into standardized, open data by May 2017, as the DATA Act requires.

But Hurd, Meadows, and ranking members Robin Kelly (D-IL) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) had to insist that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) redesign a key pilot program and disavow a too-narrow interpretation of which data fields the law requires the executive branch to standardize.

“The DATA Act means better transparency for American taxpayers outside government, data-driven analytics to improve management within government, and automated compliance to reduce grantees’ and contractors reporting costs to government,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Coalition. “These benefits can only be realized if the Treasury Department and the White House OMB implement the law faithfully – even on technical details like insisting on a consistent data structure. Today, Reps. Hurd, Meadows, Kelly, and Connolly showed they’re willing to keep the Treasury Department and the White House honest by digging into those technical details themselves. We’re grateful for their leadership.”

In one key moment, OMB Controller Dave Mader told the committee that OMB would redesign the contractor reporting pilot program required by Section 5 of the DATA Act and within 45 days. The law requires OMB to adopt a standardized data format for all information reported by federal contractors and test whether software could automate those reports, reducing compliance costs.

Watch the full hearing here

To read the Coalition's full press release, click here

Open Data and Oversight: How Data Standards Empower Anti-Fraud Analytics

Esri’s interactive web map of federal spending in 2013.

At Tuesday's House Oversight hearing, Rep. Will Hurd emphasized the need for the DATA Act to deliver full spending transparency to Americans.

Committee members want to make sure the nation’s first open data law is on track. The DATA Act requires the Treasury Department and the White House to jointly decide on a government-wide data structure for federal spending information – and obligates every agency to report its spending using that data structure by May 2017. Once all the information is standardized, the Treasury Department must publish it on an expanded version of the data portal.

When it passed the DATA Act two years ago, Congress cited the need for the federal government to be more transparent to its people. That’s quite correct: once federal spending is published as fully-standardized, open data – instead of documents – it’ll be easier for taxpayers to understand what their government is doing.

Yesterday’s hearing featured plenty of questions from Members of Congress about whether the DATA Act is going to fulfill this goal.

But transparency wasn’t the only reason for the DATA Act. Congress was also motivated by a desire to turbocharge the fight against fraud.

The Data Coalition and Esri will be exploring this story over breakfast on Tuesday, April 26, at 1776 Crystal City. Tickets are available here. Join us!

To continue reading the Coalition's latest blog post, click here

The OPEN Government Data Act: A Sweeping Open Data Mandate for All Federal Information

Rep. Farenthold delivers opening remarks at the introduction of OPEN Government Data Act on April 14, 2016.

The Data Coalition, which represents the growing open data industry, was pleased to welcome the introduction of the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act by Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-D) and Blake Farenthold (TX–R) last Thurday at a press event co-hosted with the Center for Data Innovation.

Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) also announced they’ll soon introduce a companion bill in the Senate. The bill text is available on and Rep. Kilmer’s office has published a section-by-section summary.

Simply put, the OPEN Government Data Act makes the President’s 2013 open data policy into law (see Presidential memo M-13-13). It directs all federal agencies to publish their information as machine-readable data, using searchable, open formats. It requires every agency to maintain a centralized Enterprise Data Inventory that lists all data sets, and also mandates a centralized inventory for the whole government – codifying the platform currently known as

The Data Coalition readily endorsed the bill. "When government information is expressed as open data, it can be republished for better transparency outside government, analyzed for better management within government, and automated for cheaper reporting to government," said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Coalition, in the Coalition’s media statement. “Our Coalition members’ technologies can do all those things, but only if the information is expressed as open data instead of disconnected documents.”

To continue reading the Coalition blog post, click here.

How is the Government Spending your Money? Ohio's Figured it Out

Ohio in 2014 launched a searchable database of the state's expenditures, allowing residents to browse how their money was being spent by both the state and participating local governments. Government watchdogs view it as a model for something that could be applied across the nation.

"It's a transparency initiative rooted in the concept of making the government small and the individual big," said Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who launched through his office.

To continue reading the Washington Examiner article, click here.


April 26: Data Breakfast: Open Data For Oversight
The U.S. federal government is transforming its spending information into open data – fully standardized and searchable, for the first time – under the DATA Act of 2014. Congress passed the DATA Act to improve public transparency. But its impact on internal oversight will be just as big.

The Data Coalition’s next Data Breakfast, presented by Esri, will explore how standardized spending information is empowering federal oversight. Join us!

To register, click here.
1776 Crystal City, 2231 Crystal Dr #1000, Arlington, VA 22202
When: Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 7:30am-9:00am 
May 11: Legislative Data Demo Day
At the Legislative Data Demo Day, Reps. Brat and Moulton will preview demonstrations of the technologies that can modernize laws and lawmaking – if Congress embraces the transformation from documents into data.

To register, click here.
Room: 340, Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC
When: Wednesday, May 11, 2016, Washington, D.C. 3:30pm-4:30pm 
May 26: DATA Act Summit
Join the Data Coalition for the third annual DATA Act Summit in Washington, which will bring together DATA Act Congressional supporters, state and federal agencies, and advocacy groups.

To register, click here.
Washington Hilton - 1919 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20009  
When: Thursday, May 28 2016, 7:30am-5:30pm 
The DATA Act – What it can do for all Americans
City of LA publishes FY16-17 budget on an open data platform

Data Coalition Members

Research Data Group
RR Donnelley

Booz Allen Hamilton
MorganFranklin Consulting
StreamLink Software

BackOffice Associates
Center for Organizational Excellence
CGI Federal
Elder Research
Global IDs
Grant Thornton
Information Builders
IRIS Business Services
Merrill Corporation
PR Newswire

BCL Technologies
Gov-PATH Solutions

Trade Association
Object Management Group 


About Us

The Data Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, open data.
Copyright © 2016 Data Coalition, All rights reserved.

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