McCaskill Call for Questions, Committee Hearing

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John Wonderlich

Sep 16, 2009, 11:55:37 AM9/16/09
Senator McCaskill just announced something doubly relevant to these groups.  (posted to both Open House and Sunlight Labs.)

First, she's the Chair of the Contracting Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Gov't Affairs Committee, and they've just annoucned a hearing on a new unified database structure for government spending.  The below press release has more detail, but the short story is that the way this database is created will have enormous impact on how spending accountability functions online.

Second, she is asking the Open Government community for questions she should be asking.  Here's where they're asking for questions:

That means there are at least two reasons to participate.  One: online spending transparency needs to be built well.  Two: other committee chairs should engage in similar behavior.  This community can significantly affect both the database and the participatory processes, by participating.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                Contact:  Maria Speiser 202-228-6263

September 15, 2009                                                     Adrianne Marsh 202-228-6253




WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, chaired by Chairman Claire McCaskill, will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, September 29 to examine the way the federal government tracks information relating to federal contracts.  The Subcommittee will assess the problems of the decentralized and cumbersome systems presently in place, and discuss current plans to develop a new platform for integrating these systems to ensure that goals of efficiency, transparency, and accessibility are met.


Currently, the federal government retains contract information in multiple outdated and inefficient databases maintained by various government agencies.  The federal government has begun efforts to streamline and improve the system by planning to create the Integrated Acquisition Environment, and the General Services Administration (GSA) is planning to move forward with awarding the Architecture Operations Contract Support (AOCS) contract to develop a new platform for integrating information relating to government contracting.  GSA is expected to award the contract by the end of the month.  The Subcommittee will hear testimony from both stakeholders and government officials.


Who:                            Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight


What:                          Public Hearing on Improving Transparency and Accessibility of Federal Contracting Databases


            When:                         Tuesday, September 29 2009, at 10:00 a.m. ET


            Where:                        Dirksen Senate Office Building Room SD-342


Witnesses:                 Panel I


William T. Woods

Director, Acquisition and Sourcing Management

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Adam Hughes

Director of Federal Fiscal Policy

OMB Watch


A.R. Trey Hodgkins, III

Vice President for National Security & Procurement Policy



Panel II


Vivek Kundra

Federal Chief Information Officer &

Administrator, Office of E-Government and Information Technology

Office of Management and Budget

Samuel Drzymala

Sep 16, 2009, 12:24:03 PM9/16/09
Thanks, John.  To emphasize a couple points:

First, this hearing is specifically on databases for contracting spending -- not all government spending.  I know the word "contracting" is all over this email, but I want to make sure everyone understands the scope.

Second, if you are a developer who has worked with government data before, we would especially appreciate your input.  Chairman McCaskill understands that inaccessible and badly-designed databases are some of the most imposing obstacles to real transparency and accountability, and this architecture redesign is an excellent opportunity to build something that can serve as an example.  She wants to make sure the most creative voices in the open government community are able to incorporate contracting information into their work.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Sam Drzymala
Office of Senator Claire McCaskill
Message has been deleted

Jim Harper

Sep 29, 2009, 11:06:04 AM9/29/09
Liveblogging! . . . ish.

On Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 10:11 AM, Samuel Drzymala <> wrote:
For all those interested, this hearing on transparency in contracting databases is now streaming live:

Micah Sifry

Sep 29, 2009, 9:23:47 PM9/29/09

Samuel Drzymala

Sep 29, 2009, 10:18:51 PM9/29/09
Thanks to everyone who watched and wrote about this hearing.
The Subcommittee is now developing next steps -- if you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact me.

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