Top Watchdog, Government Accountability Board Endorse DATA Act Proposal

Published: Dec 15, 2011

WASHINGTON- In his final “Chairman’s Corner” column, Earl Devaney, top watchdog on the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and head of the President’s Government Accountability and Transparency Board, endorsed legislation that would take his successful Recovery Board model and expand it government-wide to combat waste, fraud and abuse.

Devaney wrote: “There is bi-partisan legislation now in the Congress — it’s called the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act — that could accomplish this mission. But the reform bill faces an uphill battle, primarily because some in the bureaucracy prefer the status quo — a hodgepodge of data collection and display sites that, frankly, makes no sense at all unless you believe your government should confuse you.”

The DATA Act has been introduced in the House by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. and in the Senate by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Devaney signaled his commitment to continue to advocate for the DATA Act: “I stand ready in retirement to do all that I can to help see this reform realized, including testifying before Congress about the merits of the DATA Act.”

Devaney continued: “But, really, in the end, it’s up to the taxpayers — meaning you, the readers — to force change in your government. I guess it all depends on how badly you want to know how the government spends your money — more than $3.5 trillion in fiscal 2011.”

Additionally, Devaney’s Government Accountability and Transparency Board (GATB) released a report to President Obama outlining three concrete steps to make transparent Federal spending information. The recommendations mirror the provisions of the DATA Act.

“The praise and the pledge of support from a long-serving taxpayer watchdog like Earl Devaney, who has built the most modern waste and fraud fighting system the federal government has ever deployed, will go a long way towards moving the DATA Act forward.” Issa said.

“Mr. Devaney’s comments and the GATB report both confirm that we’re on the right track. We need an accountability framework in the federal government that allows us to compare spending across agency silos and reduce duplicative efforts. As we look ahead to tightening budgets, these reforms will be crucial to help us root-out waste and inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.” Sen. Warner said.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the DATA Act on a unanimous bipartisan vote earlier this year. The Senate version has been referred to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.