recommended reading

E-gov cuts could endanger digital transparency initiatives, groups say

Two transparency groups urged senators Wednesday not to combine the e-government fund with the Federal Citizen Services Fund, both of which pay for government transparency initiatives.

The letter from OMB Watch and the Sunlight Foundation follows a similar White House request in a Statement of Administration Policy sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Nov. 10.

The White House and the transparency groups also asked senators to maintain adequate funding for e-gov.

The White House didn't specify how much funding they would like the e-gov fund to receive. The transparency groups asked senators to restore President Obama's original budget request of $34 million.

The 2002 E-Government Act envisioned annual appropriations for the fund would grow to $150 million by 2006. In reality, the appropriation topped $10 million only once -- in 2010. and That $34 million appropriation helped support a slew of open government initiatives, including Data.gov, a repository for federal data sets, and the Federal IT Dashboard.

Legislators slashed the e-gov fund to $8 million in April as part of the wrangling to avoid a government shutdown. House lawmakers later added some money back to the combined fund, but early Senate versions of the appropriations bill cut it down further.

"At a time when Congress is scrounging for every last penny, it would be counterproductive to cut short the very tools that shed light on federal spending and performance," OMB Watch said in a blog post following the letter.

The e-gov and citizen services funds have broadly similar missions. Combining the two, however, would weaken e-gov's mandate and possibly endanger funding for specific e-gov projects, the transparency groups said.

"We're concerned that the new account will be less transparent than the e-gov fund, which has specific reporting requirements under the E-Government Act," OMB Watch analyst Gavin Baker said. "As a result, we'd know less about how the funds are being spent and what they're achieving . . . And [it would] be less apparent if [the General Services Administration] shifted its investments away from transparency projects."

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

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

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

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