Subscriber Special: Our Wall Street Journal / Coburn Editorial New_York6

October 7, 2015 07:15 AM

By Tom Coburn, Honorary Chairman
American Transparency (

Track Government Waste - There's an App for That!
Click here to read The Wall Street Journal Editorial
By Tom Coburn | October 7, 2015
In today's Wall Street Journal, U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn (retired) recognizes our work in his editorial: for the first time ever in 20 states, from your smartphone, the 'Books are Open.'

Now, you can search state spending (plus federal and local) right from the palm of your hand. Download our Open The Books app, free for Apple and Android here.

Our transparency revolution builds on the legacy of Dr. Coburn.
  • In 2006, then-Senators Coburn/ Obama's historic "Google Your Government Act" opened the books on federal spending making our work possible.
  • Time Magazine named Coburn to their 100 Most Influential People in the World list.
  • Dr. Coburn is the Honorary Chairman of American Transparency -
Today, at Open The Books, we are executing on Coburn's transparency vision. We've populated our app with the line-by-line checkbook spending in 20 states. These states are where 55% of all Americans live.

From Coburn's editorial:

The American people are rightfully clamoring for dramatic change in Washington. That won't come through political showmanship-but it may come through a galvanized and vigilant citizenry monitoring how elected officials are spending their money.

I learned in Washington that identifying specific examples of waste and incompetence is the best way to bring about real change, and not just make noise. And Open the Books activists are already uncovering many examples of spending that's questionable-or worse.

The goal of American Transparency's project, Open the Books, is to put every dime of government spending-on all levels-online, in real time. It's an ambitious and audacious mission to map government's role in our lives.

Here are a few examples of what citizens are finding:
  • In Lyons Township, IL, a school district treasurer's pay  surreptitiously spiked to $295,000 from $163,000 in one year. After local citizens raised questions, the Cook County State's Attorney indictment resulted in a nine year jail sentence.
  • $200 million in federal "small business" loans flowed to private country clubs across the country, including golf clubs, swim clubs, tennis clubs, gun clubs and beach clubs.
And much, much more!
Download our Open The Books app, free for Apple and Android click here.

Using our app, you can search by ZIP Code, vendor name, or your GPS location in a radius of 1 to 50 miles. Also, search federal spending, salaries, and local salaries in 34,000 units of government across America. Watch our introduction primer on our Open The Books app here.

Stay tuned for more cool stuff coming soon from including our much anticipated oversight report on the EPA.

Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-f-ski)
Chairman, American Transparency

Matthew Tyrmand
Deputy Director

P.S. Your help is needed today. Please make a tax deductible gift of $25, $50, $100, $250 or $500 today.

Download the Open The Books App click here

"Open The Books is doing the work I envisioned... putting
sunlight through a magnifying glass."

U.S. Senator (retired) Dr. Tom Coburn
Honorary Chairman of American Transparency
Back to news
Sign the Petition