Blunt-Davis bill would create grants database

Aiming to bring more transparency to the federal grant-making process, two top lawmakers have introduced legislation that would create a public database to track government-issued grants.

The legislation introduced by House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) requires the government to post information as to whom a grant was awarded, a breakdown of assistance by agency and program source, all awards a grantee has received over the past 10 years and a list of dates and amounts of federal financial assistance the grantee has received.

The information should be posted 30 days after a grant has been awarded.

"This legislation will make it easier for all Americans to understand where their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent," Davis said. "Information is power, and we should always be looking to harness technology to improve information sharing, both within the government and among government and its citizens."

David Cassidy, vice president of the Turner Consulting Group of Washington, said the legislation is a welcome development.

"Having this data in a public place is going to be a huge benefit for grantees and it's going to make the whole thing a lot more transparent," he said.

For example, if the Transportation Department gives Nevada a grant for highways, construction companies will see that online and know there is business to be had in the state, he said.

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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