recommended reading

Spending oversight requires digging deep for data

Earl Devaney

Earl Devaney // AP file photo

The most important step in using data analysis to reduce waste and fraud in government spending is to ensure you have all the information you need, an architect of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board’s system to track stimulus spending said Friday.

That’s why the board insisted that primary recipients of funding from the 2009 Recovery Act report on spending by their subcontractors, Gaurav Pal said during a virtual conference on open government data sponsored by

Pal is director of strategic programs at Smartronix, the contractor that helped develop and managed its transition to cloud hosting in 2010.

Former Recovery Board Chairman Earl Devaney has urged the Obama administration to collect information on even more layers of subcontractors, reaching all the way down to the bottom tier.

The Recovery Board’s analysis tools have proved popular with other agencies, which have asked for help tracking their own contracts and grants for fraud and waste. The board received 50 such requests between January and May, Pal said. The awards the agency was asked to look over total nearly $1.6 billion, he said.

The move to cloud hosting was another important lesson from, Pal said, as was the board’s decision to crowdsource oversight by publishing geocoded maps so that citizens could monitor stimulus projects in their own cities and neighborhoods.

The cloud’s elastic storage model allowed the site to expand to accommodate huge demand when public interest in stimulus spending was at its height and then to slim down later, he said.

About 4,500 contractors were listed as non-compliant with the program’s reporting requirements soon after it launched in September 2009. That number had dropped to about 400 by March 2012, Pal said.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.