United States Legislation Review

By Sean Roberts 09 March 2018

  • Public records are not required to be public by default. Something slightly close as “disclosing direct federal agency expenditures and linking federal contract, loan, and grant spending information to federal programs”
  • “…incorporate widely-accepted common data elements and a widely-accepted, nonproprietary, searchable, platform-independent, computer-readable format” This does not defined a standard such as delimited format or API.
  • Slight references to a common accounting standard as “ establish government-wide financial data standards for federal funds and entities receiving such funds”, “be consistent with and implement applicable accounting principles”, and “standardized reporting elements across the federal government”. Too vague to be useful.
  • Many references to the quality of the data being reported. Without metadata standards and specifics, it is likely every agency will have their own definition of their data headers.
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is directed report within 90 days of termination of the two-year pilot program. Comptroller General (GAO) is required to submit a publicly available report to Congress and “OMB Director to make available on the OMB website a financial management status report”. It may be assumed that these reports have a fixed delivery date, since the date is not published.
  • No scheduled bi-annual meetings on standards development. There are no specific meetings or discussions defined in this bill. It may be assumed that the various agencies that are required to report on progress will hold meetings to discuss their results.
  • No references to participation with incentives. This bill is focused on compliance through law.

There are many references to data quality and ‘holding federal agencies accountable for the completeness and accuracy of the data submitted’. Unfortunately, without more standards and specifics in the bill, each agency is allows to define their own version of quality.

There is a good faith effort to keep the quanity of the open data transparency at a high level by including the agency data publishing requirement of ‘not later than three years after the enactment of this Act and monthly, when practicable, but not less than quarterly thereafter’

More review necessary of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 and the work of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to verify if this updates the legislative score.