TULSA - A website built with taxpayer money to track how taxpayer money gets spent is only seven percent accurate, according to a new report by the General Accounting Office, and Senator Tom Coburn hopes two bills will help solve that problem.
The site, USASpending.gov, was created after Dr. Coburn introduced legislation called the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) in 2006.
The bill was co-sponsored by then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
But the site is anything but transparent, Coburn says, and hides more than $600 billion in spending.
“The administration set a goal of 100% accuracy by the end of 2011,” Dr. Coburn said in a statement sent to KRMG. “Three years later the federal government cannot even break a 10% accuracy rate. This complete failure in spending transparency hurts our ability to assess the pros and cons of how Washington spends tax dollars. It is disappointing that the federal bureaucracy is so vast and unaccountable that the Administration cannot enact the president’s signature accomplishment as a senator requiring the government to disclose how and where it spends money. Without transparency there can be no accountability.”
Coburn hopes two new laws can help fix the problem.
The first, a bill Coburn co-sponsored, is the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA), passed in April of this year and signed into law by President Obama in May.
It requires the Department of the Treasury and the White House Office of Management and Budget to put all information on federal spending into open, standardized data, and to publish that data online.
In April of last year, U.S. Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who's running to replace Coburn in the Senate, introduced the Taxpayer Right-To-Know Act, (TRTA), which passed in the House in February of this year but has yet to be taken up by the Senate.
It would require every agency in the federal government to describe each of its programs, determine the total costs of each program, estimate the number of people served or benefitted by the programs, estimate the number of federal or contract employees who administer each program, and identify other federal programs with redundant or overlapping mission or services.