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April 30, 2014

US Congress adopts full disclosure of federal government spending

By Vincent Huck

The US House of Representatives has passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) which will open and standardise the federal government’s spending data.

The Data Act was approved by the US Senate earlier this month and now needs USA President Barack Obama’s signature before it becomes law.

Under the new legislation federal officials, lawmakers and watchdogs will be able to to track particular types of spending from one agency to another.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) president and chief executive officer Barry Melancon said: "This is a good-government bill that will provide taxpayers and policy makers alike with more transparent access to information about how federal agencies spend taxpayer dollars."

The DATA Act comes as an improvement of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act passed in 2006 and sponsored by the then-senator Barack Obama.

The 2006 Act required full disclosure to the public of all entities or organisations receiving federal funds beginning in fiscal year 2007.

Under the DATA Act this disclosure will be done under consistent adopted standards across all level of the federal government.

The data Transparency Coalition (DTC), a trade association which supported the adoption of the new legislation, said in a statement that the Data Act will replace inaccessible documents with standardized, searchable data, freely accessible to all.

"The DATA Act will create better transparency for taxpayers and citizens; improve federal management by illuminating waste and fraud; and reduce compliance costs by automating the creation of reports by grantees and contractors," the DTC statement read.

Related links:

The Data Transparency Coalition

AICPA

The DATA Act

 

 

 

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