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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Coburn, Obama Invite Co-Sponsors for Internet Spending Database Bill

Senators Tom Coburn, R-OK, and Barack Obama, D-IL, are circulating the following letter to Senate colleagues inviting them co-sponsor S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. The bill establishes a publicly accessible and searchable database on the Internet of federal spending.

Co-Sponsor S. 2590

Thomas Jefferson: "[E]very man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend [government finances], investigate abuses, and consequently to control them."

Dear Colleague,

We write to seek your support for S. 2590, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. This bill would create a single, searchable website with access to virtually all government spending - a publicly-accessible online tool for all Americans to find out how their tax money is spent. As Thomas Jefferson wrote back in 1802, "We might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them."

According to government statistics, the federal government spends approximately $1 trillion each year on various grants, procurement contracts, and loans. However, there is currently no single searchable website or resource that provides access to information about each transaction. American taxpayers deserve better.

As various investigations into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina have shown, a lack of accountability and transparency in federal spending can lead to massive waste, fraud, and abuse. Every dollar that is wasted is a dollar that is unavailable to support our troops and veterans, improve America's global competitiveness, or reduce tax burdens and the federal deficit. Greater transparency and accountability can directly reduce waste, fraud, and abuse, while also enabling us to improve the quality and efficiency of government services and to help those who depend on us.

A massive bipartisan coalition of over 80 organizations supports the enactment of our transparency bill. Organizations across the political spectrum - from AFSCME to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, from Greenpeace to the American Conservative Union, from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to the American Family Association - have endorsed S. 2590.

A single, searchable website of federal spending information, powered by citizen investigators who need only a computer and an Internet connection, will lead to greater accountability and reduced government waste and fraud. In the age of widespread Internet use and availability, it just makes sense to provide easy-to-use access to taxpayers so they can know more about how their money is spent.

If you would like to co-sponsor this bill, please contact Sean Davis of Senator Coburn's staff at (202) 224-5754 (sean_davis@coburn.senate.gov), or Ian Solomon of Senator Obama's staff at (202) 224-2854 (ian_solomon@obama.senate.gov).

Sincerely,

Tom Coburn, M.D. Barack Obama

United States Senator United States Senator


UPDATE: Why the War on Pork?

If you haven't read Mary Katharine Ham's piece in today's issue of The Washington Examiner, you are missing a treat. But before you click to go the Examiner web site, go to Mary Katharine's Townhall.com blog and check out her on the topic, too. The lady is no-nonsense!