Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today voted in favor of H.R. 2146,the House-passed "Digital Accountability and Transparency Act" or DATA Act to greatly enhance federal spending transparency in the wake of the General ServicesAdministration's (GSA) lavish spending at a conference in Las Vegas.
"The American people have a right to know how the federal government spends their hard earned tax dollars," said Lance. "The DATA Act could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually by requiring rigorous government-wide reporting standards, slashing spending by federal agencies on conferences and helping prevent bureaucratic waste, fraud and abuse, like the GSA scandal."
H.R. 2146 would establish an independent body to track federal spending, including grants, contracts, loans and agencies' internal expenses, on a single electronic platform, using consistent reporting standards and data identifiers, and making all of the information available to the public. Spending by federal agencies on conferences would be reduced by 20 percent from levels set in 2010.
Passage of the DATA Act comes on the heels of a GSA inspector general report published this month that revealed how agency officials authorized $823,000 for an October 2010 conference attended by 300 employees in Las Vegas that included private parties, a mind-reader, a talent show, a $75,000 bicycle-building exercise and high-priced finger foods. Before the conference, agency officials also spent $130,000 on eight scouting and planning trips to Las Vegas.
"The DATA Act is an important step in our continuing efforts to bring more transparency, accountability and fiscal restraint to the federal budget process, especially when it comes to the expenditure of taxpayer dollars," concluded Lance.