The Obama administration's promise to be the "most transparent in history" has long since become a bad joke. How much more secretive could Team Obama get? Oh, they found a way.
A redesign of a transparency website that provides information on federal spending by the Obama administration now makes it much more difficult to see how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Usaspending.gov, a website mandated by law to provide detailed information on every federal contract over $3,000, received a makeover on Tuesday. Users can no longer search federal spending by keywords, sort contracts by date, or easily find detailed information on awards, which are delivered in bulk.
Information, such as how much the Pentagon spends on Viagra, used to be available at the click of a button. Locating those same contracts on the new website is virtually impossible, akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
In its previous form, the website provided easy access to how taxpayer dollars are spent, as it happens. A user now must have the federal grant identification number to see details of a contract.
So all the information is there -- we think -- but good luck finding any of it. And if you are determined to search, be careful:
Downloading data on spending by the State Department nearly crashed this reporter’s computer.
Adam Andrzejewski, Founder of OpenTheBooks.com -- one of the world's largest private databases of public spending -- tells Response Action Network that:
"The 2006 ‘Google Your Government Act’ was then Senator Obama’s singular significant legislative accomplishment. In 2008, Obama ran for President on this historic transparency. Now, it looks like he’s undermining it."
"The website makeover to obscure spending is particularly relevant, since it is the creation of the 2006 Google Your Government legislation (co-sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn and Sen. Barack Obama) that opened the federal checkbook to transparency for the first time in history."
"The new arms race is one of transparency. Will the government use the latest in technology to open up the private sector or will the private sector will use the latest in technology to open up government and hold them accountable for tax and spend decisions."
We hope -- and taxpayers should demand -- that it's the latter. OpenTheBooks is doing a fantastic job of making government's financial records public. Make sure to check them out online.
Original Article, click here.