Given that Washington issues hundreds of billions of dollars to various entities every year, the requirement was considered stride forward that taxpayers have an easy-to-use tool to help make sense of where and why their money is parceled out. The bill was cosponsored by Senators Barack Obama and Tom Coburn, and President George W. Bush signed it in 2006. According to the National Taxpayers Union, prior to the bill's passage, it was
essentially impossible for the average citizen to obtain such an accounting today. According to the General Services Administration, the federal government provides roughly $300 billion in grants to 30,000 organizations, ranging from rail and transit security to youth theater troupes. Information is spread across innumerable agencies, frequently lacks specificity, and is not always available to the public. All too often, one must resort to filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act to truly determine the extent or duration of funding. Americans should not be forced to navigate the treacherous waters of bureaucracy just to find out who is receiving their tax dollars.
Transparency bills, given their wide applicability, have garnered wide bipartisan support. Senate Bill 2590 exemplified this bipartisan spirit, given that its two primary sponsors were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Tom Coburn.
- Federal online database created by the bill
- Senate Bill 2590
- President Bush's speech prior to signing 2590