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Errors Continue to Plague USASpending.gov

It looks like the data gremlins have struck again at USASpending.gov, the federal spending information website managed by the General Services Administration (GSA).

Tom Shoop at NextGov found a whopper of a glitch this week. He discovered that the value of a contract a Reston, Virginia-based electronic publishing company had with the FBI last year was inflated by a factor of 1,000. USASpending.gov still lists the official obligation amount as $216.3 million, even though the company assured Shoop it was worth “only a little more than $200,000,” which is roughly on par with the value of its other federal contracts that year.

As you know, POGO is quite familiar with USASpending.gov’s imperfections. When we were updating our Federal Contractor Misconduct Database last April, we found glaring data errors such as subsidiaries listed independently of their parent companies, contractors assigned more than one ranking, and even a case of contract value over-inflation on a scale similar to the one found by NextGov.

POGO felt compelled to send this letter to GSA urging immediate corrective action, but problems still persist. Just glancing at the most recent fiscal year 2009 top 100 ranking, for instance, you still see Northrop Grumman Corporation and its Northrop Grumman Ship Systems subsidiary listed as separate entities when they should be combined. (The other errors POGO pointed out in the letter seem to have been fixed.)

As we told GSA last April, POGO is generally pleased with USASpending.gov. We appreciate its timeliness and user-friendliness, but obviously more needs to be done to ensure the accuracy of the data.

By: Neil Gordon
Investigator, POGO

Neil Gordon, Investigator Neil Gordon is an investigator for the Project On Government Oversight. Neil investigates and maintains POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.

Topics: Open Government

Related Content: Open Government

Authors: Neil Gordon

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