From Sunlight Foundation: Today the Sunlight Foundation filed its very first Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. In May 2013, we sent a FOIA request to the General Services Administration (GSA) requesting a copy of all contract notices that had been posted on FedBizOpps.gov since 2000. These notices would allow members of the press, researchers and our developers to analyze government spending patterns, to look for inaccuracies, corruption and waste.
FedBizOpps.gov is a government website where contracting opportunities and awards are posted. It also includes notices when something is sole-sourced without competition. However, most of these notices are archived soon after their posting and the FedBizOpps advanced search requires knowledge of the exact solicitation to really find what you’re looking for. This prevents the public from researching the original solicitations when a contract goes bad. One notable example is Healthcare.gov. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services originally signed a contract for “Enterprise System Development” back in 2007, which eventually came to include work on the recently-launched health exchange website. Now that the contract has come under scrutiny, many want to examine the original solicitation. Some smart Googling might bring it up, but historical data on this site is pretty difficult to find. Additionally, there’s no machine readable bulk export option to allow for broad analysis of patterns in contracting over time.
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