There has been a great deal of criticism that the Obama administration has failed to uphold a number of its campaign promises, such as shirking lobbyists and business-as-usual, and reaching across the aisle to craft bipartisan public policy. One thing that has not changed, however, is the commitment to open and transparent governance, particularly through the use of the World Wide Web. And so, today, Recovery.gov was launched, the better to help America keep tabs on the stimulus bill.
The site is chock-full of useful information, like where the money is meant to go and when, as well as ways for users to track its use and help play watchdog in the process. As the president puts it in the above video, “When money is spent to build new schools and create new jobs, you’ll be able to see how, when, and where it was spent.” And for the real wonks among you, there’s links to source documents, like the bill itself. There’s even a nifty map with state-by-state breakdowns of estimated job creation.
So how does it all work? As far as we can tell, the venture–granted like most of Obama’s–looks promising. The experts over at Pro Publica, a non-profit investigative journalism site, give Recovery.gov a generally favorable review, though they also note that a handful of news outlets–theirs included–have provided more thorough breakdowns of the numbers. They also point out that this is familiar territory for the president:
So what will Recovery 2.0 look like?
One guide is USASpending.gov, a 2-year-old government Web site that compiles data on all federal contracts. The site was created by a bill President Obama sponsored (with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.) when he was in the Senate.
We’ll let you know what we find. And vice versa.