Skip to Main Content
Project on Government Oversight

Open Letter: Congress Must Protect Transparency Programs in Budget Negotiations

Related Content: Reform Agenda
Printer Friendly
April 4, 2011

Dear Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and Minority Leader McConnell:

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our concerns over proposed budget reductions that would effectively eliminate important government transparency programs. The budget for Data.gov, USASpending.gov, the IT Dashboard, and other data transparency and government accountability programs funded through the Electronic Government Fund would be slashed from $34 million to $2 million if the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act passed by the House or considered by the Senate became law.

In recent years Congress and the Executive Branch have taken serious steps toward increasing government transparency. We applaud those efforts. Justice Brandeis said “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman,” but these proposed cuts would put the American people back in the dark.

These e-government initiatives help the government operate more effectively and efficiently, thereby saving taxpayer money and aiding oversight. They increase economic opportunities for small business. They also increase citizen knowledge of and involvement in the democratic process. Fully realized transparency would allow us to track every expense and truly understand how money – like that in the electronic government fund – flows to federal programs. Government spending and performance data must be available online, in real time, and in machine-readable formats.

An open and accountable government is a prerequisite for democracy. Keeping these programs alive would cost a mere pittance when compared to the value of bringing the federal government into the sunlight. As you consider the budget for the remainder of this year, please sustain funding for these vital transparency programs.

Sincerely yours,

The Sunlight Foundation

CREW

Common Cause

MAPLight.org

National Freedom of Information Coalition

OMB Watch

OpenTheGovernment.org

Open Society Policy Center

Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Michael D. Ostrolenk, National Director, Liberty Coalition

Participatory Politics Foundation

Project On Government Oversight

Public Citizen

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

U.S. PIRG

An addition 2000+ signatories are available on the Sunlight Foundation website
www.sunlightfoundation.com.

cc:
Hal Rogers, Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Appropriations
Norm Dicks, Ranking Member, U.S. House Committee on Appropriations
Jo Ann Emerson, Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on
Financial Services and General Government
José Serrano, Ranking Member, U.S. House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on
Financial Services and General Government
Daniel Inouye, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
Thad Cochran, Vice Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations
Dick Durbin, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial
Services and General Government
Jerry Moran, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on
Financial Services and General Government
Jacob Lew, Director, Office of Management and Budget

Related Work