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POGO Informs Treasury – Federal Spending Site Still Lacks Data After Revamp

Via BGOV: “…A recently revamped federal website designed to make contract spending information publicly accessible is plagued with major data gaps, a watchdog group reports. A new version of the Treasury Department-run, officially launched March 2, was designed to remedy missing or faulty information on federal contract awards and executive compensation. The site was re-launched under the DATA Act, the law passed in 2014 to make federal expenditures more transparent. Yet eight of the 97 agencies the website tracks are late in reporting DATA Act spending information—including the Defense Department, which is almost a year behind in its submissions, according to a June 28 letter from the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based nonpartisan, independent government watchdog. Other government programs have submitted very few spending records or none, according to the group…”

See POGO: “As advocates for government openness, the Project On Government Oversight fully supports the work of the Treasury Department (Treasury), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and other federal agencies in updating and providing the public with robust access to federal spending data. The latest version of the site is helpful and offers some great features for people interested in exploring federal spending. We should also note that we strongly support the iterative and transparent approach that Treasury has applied to developing the new USAspending website. Launching the site and taking ongoing feedback has encouraged greater input from outside stakeholders. More agencies should follow suit and involve potential users earlier in the development process for new websites or online tools. In keeping with that development process, we would like to raise a series of concerns with the current website, the functions available, and the data currently posted. Some of the issues below represent significant gaps in the functionality of the site. We urge Treasury and OMB to address these concerns as quickly as possible, as the identified problems are likely resulting in frustration and confusion among many users. The public would have been better served if Treasury had kept this version in beta and maintained the former USAspending site until more of the critical functionality for the new site was operating properly. Many of the issues and recommendations we raise are inter-related, but we have organized them into three main groupings:

  • Search Filter Issues
  • Data Presentation Issues
  • Data Issues…”

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