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Independent transparency sites

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Independent transparency sites are websites devoted to government transparency that are not maintained by government entities. For example, the Maine Heritage Policy Center sponsors a searchable transparency database website for Maine. Other non-government, transparency websites focus on:

For a more complete list of transparency sites (independent and government-operated), click here.

Benefits of independent transparency sites

Some might argue that independent transparency sites are unnecessary, and even counter-productive: Why would a state need more than one source for financial data concerning state spending?

Others argue that independent transparency sites serve several purposes, and often have unique benefits. For example, there are still many states which lack a government-sponsored, official transparency database. In such cases, the independent site may be the only readily available source of financial data for citizens of that state. However, even for states which sponsor official websites, independent transparency sites offer a variety of benefits:

  • They enable citizens to obtain a unique perspective on the numbers themselves: when a think-tank manages a database, it can provide policy analysis in light of those numbers, policy analysis which government officials may be unable or unwilling to provide
  • They may be more flexible: website design changes can take place much faster when they need not receive approval from multiple levels of government