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Transparency Roundup

Stimulus Leads to Better State Level Reporting | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

NextGov reports on positive side-effects of the stimulus’ disclosure and transparency provisions:

Recovery.gov’s Success  | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

We spend a lot of time talking about how Government does a lot wrong with data. And we harass them and complain a lot to the extent that even I get on my own nerves. But the fact is, the people and programmers working on these projects on the inside are neither malicious nor incompetent. The problem isn’t people, but a weird system of priorities and incentives that often leaves the citizen short-handed.

Recovery Board Chairman Can’t Certify That Data Is Accurate, Auditable  | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Recovery.gov is supposed to be a transparency clearing house for information on the federal stimulus spending appropriated in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year. Unfortunately, the reports on spending and jobs saved or created are showing errors across the board.

FederalReporting.gov: Recovery.gov’s Little Secret:  | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

The press would have you believe that Recovery.gov is an $18MM website that collects loan, contract, and grant data from recipients and shows it to end users. But that’s only half true in a lot of ways.

 Get Your Act Together, Data.gov  | The Richmond Times-Dispatch

On May 21st, we launched Apps for America 2: the Data.gov Challenge — the very same day that Federal CIO Vivek Kundra & Company launched data.gov. On May 26th, Kundra announced that there were hundreds of thousands of data sources just around the corner.
It is now November 13th, 2009. Right now the Raw Data Catalog in data.gov stands at an even 600 feeds. What’s worse, the data is chunked up into small little bits, making 600 not a particularly exciting number.

Transparency Squandered  | Matthew Yglesias

In an interesting decision, Nancy Pelosi agreed earlier this year to start releasing more details online about what House members spend their office expense allocation on. Predictably this kind of well-intentioned transparency initiative serves mostly to reduce the public’s understanding of what’s going on.

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