Truth in Accounting
Truth in Accounting (IFTA) is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan foundation located in Illinois that was founded by Sheila Weinberg, a former Certified Public Accountant, in 2002. The organization consists of financial and public policy experts concerned with the quality of public and private organizations’ financial reporting. IFTA encourages private and public entities to produce financial reports that are comprehensive, comprehensible and transparent and to inform the public of the importance of truthful accounting.
The organization exposed the discrepancies in the federal deficit, showing that the government owed $2.5 trillion in federal liabilities for 2007 instead of the $162 billion the government officially announced.
Statewide fiscal transparency pledge
The group has also been involved in asking the Illinois legislature to sign off on a transparency pledge that asks the legislature to enact the following:
- Have the Comptroller of the State of Illinois audit, prepare and release to the public the CAFR within six months after the close of each fiscal year
- Have the State Comptroller issue the estimated deficit that will appear on the CAFR if that budget was implemented at least three days before the final vote on the budget in each Chamber
- Issue a press release to announce the estimated government-wide deficit before voting on the budget proposal
- Advocate "three days of sunshine" provision be followed to thus ensure true transparency in the budgetary process.
For over a decade, Weinberg has analyzed the federal government's financial statements and projections. During the late '90's, she was astonished to find that the government was recording trust fund surpluses as both revenues and debt. During the 2000 Presidential campaign, for example, candidates focused on how they would spend the projected surpluses. At the same time the Congressional Budget Office had projected a large general fund deficit. Surpluses resulted from including trust fund borrowings as income. The annual costs of government public retirement programs were completely omitted from the projections.