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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Short on Transparency

Yesterday, the U.S House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a hearing entitled “Follow the Money Part II,” intended to take a look at the oversight measures in place to track the distribution of stimulus dollars.

During the hearing the subcommittee Chairman charged the taxpayers with overseeing the stimulus funds, which may be a good thing as only 3 of the 10 committee members felt it was necessary to show for the hearing.

The star witness for the scarcely attended event was Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board (pictured).

The Washington Times reports:
Mr. Devaney, though, said his board - made up of 10 IGs - has a dual mission: "First, the board is responsible for establishing and maintaining a Web site." Oh, and second, it's supposed to "help minimize fraud, waste or mismanagement."

"As I mentioned in my testimony," Mr. Devaney said, "that Web site is evolving. ... I would probably be the first to admit today the Web site doesn't give you that kind of information."
USA Today also reporting on the hearing:
Recovery.gov now lists programs being funded by the stimulus money, but provides no details on who received the grants and contracts. Agencies won't report that data until Oct. 10, according to Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which manages the website.

Devaney told a House subcommittee Tuesday that it will be a challenge to have the site ready to present spending data in five months. He said after the hearing that the board doesn't have enough data storage capacity, for example. …

Devaney said that after the first data become available in October, the board will wait six to nine months for the White House Office of Management and Budget to issue new guidance on how far down the spending chain the money must be tracked.
It doesn’t seem likely the public will be able to “track every dime” of the stimulus as promised until this time next year. Greg Elin of the Sunlight Foundation summed it up well when he said, “If we have to wait until October to get the information or to the end of the year to get a powerful recovery.gov site, the Obama administration will have missed an important opportunity.”

1 comment:

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    This is TREASON !