Towns suggests IT committee to improve transparency of stimulus spending

The Obama administration should convene a group of federal, state and private sector information technology leaders to help track the $787 in economic stimulus funding through the economy, a senior House member said today.

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he wrote to Vice President Joseph Biden March 19 asking Biden to establish a roundtable of IT leaders.

The group would develop a uniform approach and data-management tools to track the spending from the stimulus law along with business models, best practices and solutions to improve transparency on Recovery.gov, Towns said. That is the Web site established for public reporting of the stimulus money.

“I have major concerns about the administration’s primary transparency tool, Recovery.gov,” Towns wrote in the letter. “The fact of the matter is that Recovery.gov is currently not a usable database.”

“We must tap America’s ingenuity and explore ways to better leverage technology in reshaping our economy,” Towns wrote. “We need to further explore the use of information technology for optimal administration and management of all stimulus-related programs and activities.”

The group could establish a uniform approach for tracking and account for spending, including a system for determining what information is needed, in what form that information is needed, and how that information should be reported and displayed, Towns said. The goal is a centralized, searchable system.

Towns held a committee hearing March 19 that explored problems related to tracking the stimulus spending on Recovery.gov.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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