I’m in 2 minds about yesterday’s announcement by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. On the one hand, I’m heartened by the fact that he stood up for the importance of the e-government fund and sites like data.gov and USAspending.gov and understood the importance of “governmentwide collection and governmentwide disclosure.” On the other hand, I really worry about commercialized aggregations of data replacing free govt aggregations (statistical abstract, etc.) if the “pretty part” is not fully funded. If “governmentwide collection and disclosure” is not fully funded, what non-govt entity/company will be able to do that? Remember, according to the Census 2012 budget request, base funding for the Statistical Abstract = 24 FTE staff and $2.9 million (p.79). Data collection, aggregation, analysis, access and preservation cost money and these things won’t be done by the “invisible hand.”
And with that cheery thought, I’d again exhort our readers to help save the Statistical Abstract!
Issa pledges to keep transparency sites online
Federal News Radio
April 13, 2011
Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Wednesday the $27 million cut to the E-Government Fund doesn’t have to be the end of the sites such as Data.gov, USAspending.gov and many others.
“It was one of the things I begged my partners on the other side of the aisle to come back and say there is a price to pay to keep this up,” Issa said during a panel discussion hosted by the Association of Government Accountants. “We will find a way, and this is a personal pledge, to make sure they are not shutdown. The specific funding goes away but reprogramming authority would still be available. Our view is on a case-by-case basis we will be able to keep them open.”