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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OMB not enamored of House-passed data transparency measure

The DATA Act, the government spending transparency bill that passed the House in April, has ruffled some feathers at the Office of Management and Budget, signs of which were on display Tuesday at a panel discussion of lessons learned from implementation of the 2009 Recovery Act.

Controller Danny Werfel, addressing a workshop put on by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and sponsored by Grant Thornton LLP, clashed with Obama administration colleague Earl Devaney, recently retired as chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, over whether new legislation is needed to advance their shared goals of improving transparency and accountability in agency spending.

The legislation known as the DATA Act (H.R. 2146), which is pending in the Senate, would impose a universal reporting requirement for recipients of federal grants, loans and contracts. It would require all agencies to use the same formats to publicly share their internal and external obligations and expenditures. A five-member Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Commission would oversee the measure’s implementation.

Its components were heavily influenced by the online reporting and data consistency tools the Recovery Board pioneered during the financial crisis, and Devaney calls himself the DATA Act’s biggest fan.

-Charles S. Clark, GovExec.com

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