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Codebreaker

Could be curtains for open government sites

John Moe Apr 1, 2011

Sites like data.gov and paymentaccuracy.gov – sites designed to make government more transparent – will likely be shut down by May 31. The Office of Management and Budget is set to turn off these sites because they’re out of funding. Federal News Radio spoke with one government official: “‘We need at least another $4 million just to keep USASpending.gov operating this year,’ the official said. ‘We are looking at a pass-the-hat approach, but it could be challenging to get that done in time.’ The White House requested $35 million for the e-government fund in 2011. The House allocated only $2 million in its bill, H.R. 1. The Senate, meanwhile, would provide $20 million for the e-government fund.” Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra has said that some of these sites have helped the government save money by identifying which projects are ineffective, which can be recalibrated and so on. Advocates for more government transparency who have criticized these sites are upset they’re going to get turned off altogether. Daniel Schuman with The Sunlight Foundation told Federal News Radio: “If it were to go away, agencies could perhaps post the information on their website,” Schuman said. “But because of the way government websites are set up, it could be difficult or impossible for people to access information they’ve already grown accustomed to using. A lot of people built programs to gather information from Data.gov, and they would have to go back and rework what they do.”

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