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January 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The website picture above – – will soon be transformed into a database for information on new spending originating from the $825 billion economic stimulus package. This part of Congress’s effort to bring “a historic level of transparency, oversight and accountability” to the stimulus so that “taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and Americans can see results for their investment,” as stated in the draft summary. Below is the mandate to build the site contained in the House’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (.pdf):

>(a) REQUIREMENT TO ESTABLISH WEBSITE.— The Board shall establish and maintain a website on the Internet to be named, to foster greater accountability and transparency in the use of funds made avail1able in this Act.
>(b) PURPOSE.— shall be a portal or gateway to key information related to this Act and provide a window to other Government websites with related information.
MATTERS COVERED.—In establishing the website, the Board shall ensure the following:
>(1) The website shall provide materials explaining what this Act means for citizens. The materials shall be easy to understand and regularly updated.
(2) The website shall provide accountability information, including a database of findings from audits, inspectors general, and the Government Accountability Office.
(3) The website shall provide data on relevant economic, financial, grant, and contract information in user-friendly visual presentations to enhance public awareness of the use funds made available in this Act.
(4) The website shall provide detailed data on contracts awarded by the Government for purposes of carrying out this Act, including information about the competitiveness of the contracting process, noti1fication of solicitations for contracts to be awarded, and information about the process that was used for the award of contracts.
(5) The website shall include printable reports on funds made available in this Act obligated by month to each State and congressional district.
(6) The website shall provide a means for the public to give feedback on the performance of contracts awarded for purposes of carrying out this Act.
(7) The website shall be enhanced and updated as necessary to carry out the purposes of this subtitle.

And here are some more specifics from the bill text on exactly what information is going to have to be posted:

>With respect to funds made available under this Act for infrastructure investments to Federal, State, or local government agencies, the following requirements apply:
>(A) Each such agency shall notify the public of funds obligated to particular infrastructure investments by posting the notification on the website
(B) The notification required by subparagraph (A) shall include the following:
>(i) A description of the infrastructure investment funded.
(ii) The purpose of the infrastructure investment.
(iii) The total cost of the infrastructure investment.
(iv) The rationale of the agency for funding the infrastructure investment with funds made available under this Act.
(v) The name of the person to contact at the agency if there are concerns with the infrastructure investment and, with respect to Federal agencies, an email address for the Federal official in the agency whom the public can contact.
(vi) In the case of State or local agencies, a certification from the Governor, mayor, or other chief executive, as appropriate, that the infrastructure investment has received the full review and vetting required by law and that the chief executive accepts responsibility that the infrastructure investment is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. A State or local agency may not receive infrastructure investment funding from funds made available in this Act unless this certification is made.
>With respect to funds made available under this Act in the form of grants for operational purposes to State or local government agencies or other organizations, the agency or organization shall publish on the website a description of the intended use of the funds, including the number of jobs sustained or created.
AVAILABILITY ON INTERNET OF CONTRACTS AND GRANTS.—Each contract awarded or grant issued using funds made available in this Act shall be posted on the Internet and linked to the website Proprietary data that is required to be kept confidential under applicable Federal or State law or regulation shall be redacted before posting.

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Displaying 1-30 of 44 total comments.

  • Anonymous 01/24/2009 6:30am

    Tears came to my eyes. I don’t think the American people have been addressed so respectfully since the war of Independence.
    Forrest Hopping
    Los Angeles

  • Anonymous 01/24/2009 10:18am

    Selamat bekerja untuk President Barack Obama ,

    dari Global Indonesian Society, the only Indonesian Global Village

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    Anonymous 10/17/2009 5:48pm

    Great address so much concern.

  • Anonymous 01/25/2009 5:05am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I’m certainly no Republican but, as soon as I saw the phrase “…including the number of jobs sustained or created” I thought, yes, this will be an excellent marketing/propaganda tool.

    Independent 3rd party analysis is where I’m going for that answer.

  • Anonymous 01/25/2009 5:17am

    I did not vote for Obama but i hope I vote for him in 4 years

  • Anonymous 01/25/2009 6:03am

    The government needs to make sure that they post actual data in a portable format like XML. The EPA publishes emissions data in portable XML formats for scientist and the public to use the data as they need.
    For example, uses publicly published data to deliver a complete service. Having the data available as a feed or a series of published data files instead of some static website enables everyone else to see the details and deliver meaningful content.

  • Anonymous 01/25/2009 6:21am

    “taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and Americans can see results for their investment”

    About time…

  • Anonymous 01/25/2009 6:34am

    I wonder if this site is going to be powered by the WebGUI Content Management System? That software is awesome and it’s currently powering websites like and 500+ other US government websites. It’s open source and this is great considering that President Obama is very interested in using open source solutions in new iniatives. Very cool!!!

  • Anonymous 01/25/2009 10:35am

    SO far, stunned by this President’s youthful approach to using technology. I wish for him and the USA every success. FYI The current Congress is the oldest Congress on record. These Congresspersons really know how to hold on to power. It has been such a terrible time. Help us Obama. Be direct. Get rid of the criminals and many thieves attached to banking and government. If the banking is not fixed, it will not matter if you stimulate. They will just continue to take the earnings of the people. Working harder and several jobs just doesn’t do it anymore, does not = supporting a household. There are so many mechanisms now to take the value of work from the people.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 01/25/2009 10:38pm

    Your right IMHO! More important is that if the OTC is not
    regulated carefully, and credit default swaps are not
    closely regulated the stimulus will have little long term
    effect, but of course put people back to work for however
    long the money lasts, and how well the stimulus is structured
    over time. My understanding from watching C-Span is that only
    13% will be spent in the first year after passage, which may
    be as early as in the second week of Feb. ’09. As Gas prices
    are again on a slow rise, this may be too little and too late.

  • Anonymous 01/25/2009 10:23pm

    This is a good thing if the data presented is honest, recent,
    and provided in an opensource format such as XML. Also what
    will be needed on this new website will be the need to provide
    comments, suggestions, and ask questions that WILL actually be
    answered directly and honestly. There’s risk here, but also
    the potential for great reward and value as we;;

  • Anonymous 01/25/2009 10:24pm

    How is this different than the existing FFATA website ( which allows searching of ALL spending, not just ‘stimulus’ items?
    Yeah, that one came online under Bush, but at the request of open-government types. I just hope this isn’t a distraction from the existing work, or they work in tandem…

  • Anonymous 01/26/2009 3:01am

    Unfortunately, I was unable to vote for President Obama, but I had helped with his campaign over the summer. I’m glad to see that next year when I head off to college, and beyond I will know exactly how my future dollars will be spent.

  • Anonymous 01/26/2009 11:31am

    the FFATA web site only lists funds used in contracts or grants. it does not list operating expenditures or other such departmental costs.

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  • Anonymous 01/27/2009 4:08pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I see that ACORN will be getting indirectly, slipped through the transparency catch phrase, $4.19 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities.” How does this make jobs Mr. President? hopefully this will not be part of the economic stimulus proposal working its way through the House.

  • Anonymous 01/29/2009 4:30am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    The transparency is missing. I want to see the entire package. Right now, nothing sounds viable: just bits and pieces. People need jobs and money now; not four to ten years down the Pike when maybe some of these political boon-dogs will or will not generate jobs and income for citizens. Banks and Big Business should be on their own. Sod replacement on a mall most of us will never see, while a majority of people cannot afford neccessities of life and are losing their homes, is not my idea of boosting the economy.
    Connie from Michigan

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 02/17/2009 5:53pm
    I totally agree with you. Nobody in congress read the entire bill. It was totally impossible unless one could read 650 words per minute. Upset about sod on the mall? How about 30 million going to Nancy Pelosi’s district to save the SALT MARSH HARVEST MOUSE. Check-it- out.
  • Anonymous 01/29/2009 4:30am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    The transparency is missing. I want to see the entire package. Right now, nothing sounds viable: just bits and pieces. People need jobs and money now; not four to ten years down the Pike when maybe some of these political boon-dogs will or will not generate jobs and income for citizens. Banks and Big Business should be on their own. Sod replacement on a mall most of us will never see, while a majority of people cannot afford neccessities of life and are losing their homes, is not my idea of boosting the economy.
    Connie from Michigan

  • Anonymous 01/30/2009 10:31am

    I have a novel idea for stimulating the economy and getting people back to work. Let’s bring the “OUTSOURCED” jobs back to America. Give tax breaks for bringing them back, giving bigger breaks for speed in getting them here and up and running. If businesses don’t want to bring the jobs back, then tax the businesses extra taxes that will make it unprofitable to outsource their products and services.

  • Anonymous 02/03/2009 6:13am

    In the campaign you vowed to “slay the demons of Washington” and bar lobbyists from your administration. You gave a 9 page 61 question questionnaire to prospective appointees. It is very obvious that some our your appointees did not get the questionnaire. Question numbers 3,4,5,15,19,33,34,35,36, and 55. If I read your questionnaire correctly some of your appointees are suspect in their answers to your questionnaire. What I am getting at is your “change” is just as bad if not worse than the past.

  • Anonymous 02/05/2009 6:44am

    There is nothing on this site.It will only be published AFTER it is passed. Why can’t we see it before it is passed? AFTER THE FACT IS TOO LATE!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 02/17/2009 6:20pm

    If you saw it BEFORE you would start a new revolution. We are becoming the sheeple of the United Socialist States of America. Spread the news not the wealth !

  • Anonymous 02/14/2009 11:19am

    I need recovery too! Help me by donating at my website! Just a few bucks can help a lot! Read more on the web site. Thanks!

  • Anonymous 02/17/2009 9:39am

    Hope has become a reality, the meaning “United We Stand” has merit finally!

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 02/17/2009 6:11pm

    Get real. Whose United?? The useful idiots(liberal Demorats)? Oh, don"t let me forget the RINOS too. Fear was used to pass this STIMULUS not hope. Kool-aid for everyone !

  • Anonymous 02/18/2009 7:40am isn’t enough to ensure we, the taxpayers, are ensure the dollars go to spending programs that produce longer term return on our investment (i.e. permanent jobs, improved productivity, local economic impacts, improve energy efficiency, et.). This would be the missing ‘strategy’ behind the spending.

    However, take a look at what’s coming on I’ve talked to the principals and they are working with local governments who will be getting the money and convincing them to post periodic performance measures on program implementation (on-time, on-budget) and longer term payback (economic improvements, energy improvements).

    It seems the difference is that is the after-the-fact auditing report to go after fraud and abuses, and is the program level reporting based on the strategies behind the spending.

    After all, I don’t want our money spent on lame ideas with no payback. I actually want it to help, measurably.

  • Anonymous 02/20/2009 6:37am

    where is all this lottery money going taht the states are gettinh

  • Anonymous 02/20/2009 6:44am

    what happened to all thie stimulus money that the banks got to help forclosers it is a shame the ceo’s put the money in their pocket and should pay that money back to the federal government and then decide how this money should be used these big banks ceo’s ripped the american tax payers off and should be punished

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