Editorial: Transparency on Government Spending Fails By An Astonishing $619 Billion

Seven years ago, the Office of Management and Budget launched USASpending.gov to let the public easily track how their tax dollars were spent on contracts, grants, loans and other spending. It was supposed to be a big win for open government. Except when the Government Accountability Office checked to see how well it tracked spending in 2012, it found the site to be less than useless.

The audit found that out of the roughly $1 trillion federal agencies spent in these areas that year, $619 billion of it didn’t get reported to the site. The biggest offender was Health and Human Services, which failed to report $544 billion in spending on programs like Medicare. Veterans Affairs came in second with $64 billion in unreported spending. The Interior Department finished third at $5.3 billion. The White House itself failed to report $247 million worth of 2012 spending.

In addition, the GAO found that only 2% to 7% of the reports that were filed contained complete and accurate data. More astonishing still, the GAO often couldn’t verify information reported to USASpending.gov because original agency records weren’t available or reliable. Continue>>>