Government Transparency

There are various sites designed to help citizens track transparency within the United States government.  Some are created by U.S. government agencies and others are individually maintained.  Listed below are some of these sites.

OpenCongress

On this site, a project of the Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation, you can find recent votes from the House and Senate and current bills, and issues.  You can search for issues by clicking on the Issues link at the top of the page, then enter a keyword in the search box or scroll down on the Topics menu to find a particular issue.

To find out how members of Congress voted on particular bills, click on Votes at the top of the page and then click on the bill.

govtrack.us

This site, created by Civic Impulse LLC also allows you to track representatives in Congress and to research pending legislation.  You can browse by Members of Congress, Bills and Resolutions (from 1979 to the present), Voting Records (from 1789 to the present), and Congressional Committees.

OMB Watch’s Fedspending.org

This site is developed by OMB Watch, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, and allows you to track government spending by Recipient, State, Congressional District, and Agency.  There are several tutorials on the site to help you extract and understand the data.

Recovery.gov: Track the Money

This is the official U.S. government site that provides access to spending related to Recovery Act Spending.  The site also allows you to report potential fraud, waste, and abuse.  A good place to start on this page is at the Get Started link toward the bottom of the page.  Click on Get Started then scroll through the different links to learn more about the Recover Act and what is available on the site.

For an overview of how money is spent, click on Where is the Money Going? at the top of the home page.  Next click on Overview of Funding for a breakdown of Recovery Funds spending.

You can quickly search for projects in your neighborhood by scrolling down the homepage and typing your zip code in the search box beneath the map.

FedBizOpps

This government site also allows you to search for Recovery Act awards.  Click on the blue Search Recovery Awards box on the right side of the page to find a listing of awards organized by date.  Next click on either the magnifying glass or award title to read the specifics of the award.

USA Spending.gov

Launched in 2007, this website was created by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to fulfill the requirements of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which mandates that OMB establish a single, searchable website free of charge to the public to provide information about Federal Awards.

You can search by keyword or Award name by using the search box or by clicking on a list of popular requests.

Opencrs.com (Congressional Research Service)

The Congressional Research Service is a branch of the Library of Congress that provides for Congress research and analysis on legislative issues.  Since the Congressional Research Service does not make reports publically available, the Opencrs fills that need by making available as many public domain Congressional Research Reports as possible.

You can access recent reports simply by clicking on the link provided, then downloading the file or adding it to a folder, or you can search for a specific report by typing the title or keywords in the search box.

Openthegovernment.org

Openthegovernment.org is a coalition of journalists, consumers, government groups, environmentalists, library groups, and labor groups committed to making the federal government more transparent. 

The website provides policy and news updates and links to help citizens take action to make government more transparent

Sunlight Foundation

Sunlight’s government accountability site allows you to follow election spending, campaign financing, and federal spending and provides regular updates and news features on government spending.