If you read the morning paper, you know that Senator Obama has clinched the Democratic presidential nomination. What you might not know is that yesterday, Senators Obama (D-IL) and Coburn (R-OK) introduced legislation to improve public access to government contract, grant, and lease information. The "Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008" (S. 3077) would expand the Senators' first creation, USASpending.gov--a user-friendly web site where taxpayers can see how our money is spent.
Specifically, the bill would vastly improve the information disclosed by the agencies on federal contracts and orders, grants, lease agreements and assignments, and loans. For example, some contract proposal and bid information would be available, as well as copies of the "request for proposals, the announcement of the award, the contract, and the scope of work to be performed." The enhanced database would also create a portal on which data errors can be reported (data quality has become a major concern with the current system).
Senators Obama and Coburn have also proposed to improve contractor responsibility data (in line with POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database) so that improved contract award decisions will be made by government officials. Simply stated, they want a better system to prevent risky contractors from receiving taxpayer dollars.