Issa wants subcontract data on Recovery.gov

The federal Recovery.gov Web site should be required to track all subcontracts included in its reporting of spending under the economic stimulus law, a Republican House member says.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, took issue with the federal reporting requirements for the new law outlined in a Feb. 18 memo from the Office of Management and Budget.

OMB requires that only the prime recipients, and the subawardees, need to report. There is no reporting requirement for subsequent subrecipients. The memo gives the example of a federal grant to a state, which must be reported, and a subgrant to a city, which also must be reported. But further subcontracts by the city need not be reported.

On March 12, Issa said those requirements are inadequate and will not provide a complete picture of the spending, and wrote to Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, to share those concerns.

“I was surprised and troubled to read in recently released OMB guidance that the administration may be backing away from the president’s commitment to the American people by directing agencies to withhold key data that should be disclosed to the American public,” the letter states.

“The public deserves to know more than the fact that the state of Mississippi made a subgrant to the city of Laurel, for example, for doorbells,” Issa wrote. “The public deserves to know the contractor or subcontractor that obtained taxpayer money to install the doorbells, how much the contractor or subcontractor received, and what was accomplished by the installation of the doorbells.”

Also, Recovery.gov should deliver the information to the public in a structured, open and searchable format, Issa said. He asked Devaney to provide details on data that will be released on Recovery.gov and how it will be released.

He also asked how the state recovery spending data will be housed, and in what format.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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