On Monday, the House passed the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act, S. 994, with strong bipartisan support. The DATA Act is a commonsense bill that would allow the public to track every dollar spent by federal agencies and help Congress find ways to eliminate waste and fraud by making the reporting requirements more transparent and readily available for scrutiny.
The legislation would amend the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to require full disclosure of federal agency expenditures. It would also require the development of government wide data standards to simplify and streamline financial reports. The bottom line is that it should not be difficult for anyone to review how a federal bureaucracy is spending taxpayer dollars.
This bill, for the first time, would allow for unprecedented transparency for taxpayers to review accounting records and it has been long overdue. Take for example all the headlines created the last couple of years by the Internal Revenue Service regarding their extravagant conferences around the country and the costly videos that were created. While those egregious expenses were ultimately uncovered, I believe it would have been less likely that the IRS would have spent money the way they did if they had to be more transparent about their spending habits to begin with.
The good news is that the DATA Act has already passed the Senate, so this bill will be heading to the President for his signature to be signed into law.
Member of Congress