Set-Asides

Top 10 digital list wanted

A pair of nonprofit advocacy groups last week called on the public to help identify the 10 most wanted government documents that should be available online but are not.

The Center for Democracy and Technology and OMB Watch have teamed up to send virtual "Wanted!" signs to Internet mailboxes, asking recipients to fill out a form on CDT's World Wide Web site (www.cdt.org) or to send CDT or OMB Watch an e-mail message listing the 10 most wanted documents.

The groups plan to collect the lists until August and then use the data "to get the agencies to actually post the information," said Ari Schwartz, a policy analyst at CDT. "We're going to keep it up and put the pressure on the agencies."

Schwartz said only information that is not classified will be considered in the top 10 list.

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Treasury plans for EF T accounts

Vice President Al Gore announced last week that the Treasury Department selected six financial institutions to offer low-cost bank accounts to federal benefits recipients, who could use the accounts to receive their benefits payments electronically. The accounts are aimed at Social Security recipients, veterans, and current or retired federal employees who do not have bank accounts, although no benefits recipients would be required to sign up for the accounts.

With the establishment of the program, Treasury moves closer to issuing all federal payments electronically, as required by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. Treasury was to have achieved this goal by Jan. 1.

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GAO raps DOE on ASCI

In a report issued June 28, the General Accounting Office claimed that the Energy Department's nine-year, $5.2 billion Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative program is poorly managed. GAO said the department has not kept consistent, up-to-date plans for the program, has not tracked costs systematically and has not established a complete set of milestones or performance measures for ASCI's systems and software.

In a letter accompanying the report, DOE said it will have updated plans for the program in place later this year, including project milestones. Officials said they also are improving how they track spending on the program.

ASCI, which began in 1995, aims to make supercomputers 1,000 times faster. The systems will be used to model the condition of the nation's nuclear stockpile so that the United States can comply with a treaty banning underground nuclear tests.

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