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Project on Government Oversight

A Treasure Trove for Stimulus Oversight

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May 27, 2009

Yesterday, States for a Transparent and Accountable Recovery (STAR Coalition) launched a new website for “promoting state and local activism to ensure the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is transparent, accountable, fair and effective.” Many of the groups involved with STAR are also members of the Coalition for an Accountable Recovery (CAR), of which POGO is a member.

There's a lot of great information available on the site, including an analysis of the recovery websites for all 50 states plus DC comparing the disclosure of contractor information and key data such as total ARRA funding the state is expected to receive. Take the analysis of Nevada, for example, and its Open Government website, which:

"...allows users to compare budgeted spending to actual spending. But it does not document contracts or line item expenses. The site was created by executive order in March 2008 with the intention of posting all information collected by the comptroller, treasurer, legislature and administrative courts on state financing. ARRA revenues and expenditures are not clearly reported on the site.

Status of contractor information: none"

POGO will be largely relying on this site for our State POGO (SPOGO) project, which will identify some of the most effective and innovative state and local good government mechanisms. These can be policies, rules, structures, or procedures in a city, state, or county government. We will soon be launching a survey to get the input of taxpayers and state and local public interest and good government groups on this project.

Related Resources

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) ranked how whistleblower laws vary from state-to-state.

The Chicago-based Better Government Association (BGA) is an independent, non-partisan government watchdog. Here is its 2008 BGA-Alper Integrity Index.

Some good government indicators have also been collected from the Aspen Institute's Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership Program.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.