The U.S. government is giving the public new details about how it is spending taxpayer money on government business.
Starting Wednesday, the Obama administration began publicizing the names of subcontractors - the companies that get the majority of federal contracts - along with the dollar amounts they receive.
For years, the government reported only the companies that won major, or prime, government contracts - even if those companies then hired subcontractors to do most of the job. Now taxpayers can follow more accurately where their dollars are going, tracing public money to the specific companies and communities that share in multimillion- and billion-dollar federal work.
The previous dearth of information about government subcontracts led to incomplete and sometimes misleading conclusions about Uncle Sam's impact on communities.
The new subcontractor details are available on the Office of Management and Budget's Web site, USASpending.gov. Recipients of all federal contracts and grants larger than $25,000 will be required to report the names of companies they hire.
The subcontractors' names are being made public as required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which became law in 2006 under President George W. Bush. The informations' release is two years behind schedule. A smaller portion of subcontractor information - for contracts larger than $20 million - was made public in October.
-Carrol Leonning, WashingtonPost.com