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Endorsement of Issa Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2011: National Taxpayers Union

Endorsement of Issa Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2011: National Taxpayers Union

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Published by: House Oversight Committee on Sep 22, 2011
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July 5, 2011

The Honorable Darrell Issa
United States House oI Representatives
2347 Rayburn House OIIice Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Issa:

On behalI oI the 362,000 members oI the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to oIIer our
support Ior H.R. 2146, the 'Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) oI 2011.¨ Your bill would
revolutionize the way government data is reported and presented to the public in order to build upon the
successes oI Recovery.gov and USASpending.gov.

This legislation would expand on the solid Ioundation established in 2006`s Federal Funding
Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA), which created www.USASpending.gov, and proved to be an
invaluable tool Ior allowing Americans to track how their money was being spent. Although FFATA was an
unprecedented improvement in transparency, time has revealed several inherent limitations in its structure as
well as brought to light new innovations which would improve on its goals. The DATA Act addresses many
oI these developments in order to Iurther empower citizens to challenge Iederal spending on wasteIul or
duplicative programs.

Currently, the U.S. government operates many diIIerent accountability portals with no uniIied
approach to Iinancial data collection. The mish-mash oI websites and standards makes it very diIIicult to
gain a true picture oI how the government is spending taxpayer dollars. The DATA Act would rectiIy these
problems by creating the Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency (FAST) Board, which will be
tasked with receiving, organizing and publishing Iederal spending inIormation on a single electronic
platIorm. Unlike FFATA, which only applied to contracts and grants, your legislation would also shine
disinIecting sunlight on agency expenditures, thus providing a long-overdue check on unnecessary growth in
the Iederal bureaucracy.

To ensure the Iunctionality oI the new integrated platIorm, the DATA Act would charge the FAST
Board with designating a harmonized database model. The Iederal government currently lumbers along a
cumbersome and inaccurate patchwork oI systems that makes it nearly impossible to identiIy waste, Iraud
and abuse across agencies. H.R. 2146 would institute a universal recipient reporting Iramework designed to
improve the accuracy oI the inIormation provided. Furthermore, by creating a single government-wide data
standard, your bill would not only streamline the compliance burden among agencies, but would also greatly
enhance the usability oI the inIormation.

Advocates Irom across the political spectrum share the notion that transparency is a Iundamental
building block oI good governance. At a time oI mounting debt, it becomes all the more important to ensure
Americans are equipped with the tools to track the Ilow oI Iunds they send to Washington. NTU commends
your eIIorts and will encourage all Members oI Congress to work toward passage oI the DATA Act.

Sincerely,

Brandon GreiIe
Federal Government AIIairs Manager

108 North AlIred Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314 Phone: (703) 683-5700 Fax: (703) 683-5722 Web: www.ntu.org

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