Feds Transparency Website Can’t Account for $619 Billion

In the midst of the Obama administration’s attempt to implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, a recent government audit shows that $619 billion is missing from 302 federal programs.

The Transparency Act was passed by Congress last year to “expand the amount of federal spending data available to the public.

USASpending.gov was originally created as a way to make government spending more transparent. However, a report from the Government Accountability Office revealed that only 2% to 7% of the recorded spending data in 2012 is “fully consistent with agencies’ records.”

The report stated that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should implement more oversight of the spending data from federal agencies, and that until it does, “any effort to use the data will be hampered by uncertainties about accuracy.”

Jamal Brown, a spokesman for the OMB, made a statement insisting that the OMB is “committed to federal spending transparency and working with agencies to improve the completeness and accuracy of data submissions.”

According to USA Today, The Department of Health and Human Services was one of the 302 federal agencies, which failed to report money it had spent. This agency “failed to report nearly $544 billion, mostly in direct assistance programs like Medicare.”

The Department of the Interior neglected to report $5.3 billion it had spent, due to the fact that it claimed its accounting systems “were not compatible with the data formats required by USASpending.gov.

USA Today also reported that for more than 22% of federal awards, “the spending website literally doesn’t know where the money went.”

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Senator Tom Carper, acknowledged the problem saying, “We live in a world in which information drives decisions, and given the budget constraints that our government faces, we need reliable information on how and where our money is being spent.