Commentary: IT Is Critical To Preventing Fraud And Waste In Austere Times

Ramani Vaidyanathan | Nextgov | September 14, 2012

In the face of intense and growing budget pressures, taxpayers, legislators, and commentators of all political stripes want greater transparency and accountability in government spending. In the past, it was difficult to obtain insights on government spending from public documents. Even when data was available, it was often impossible to decipher. But advances in software and data-management technology have made it possible to give the public accurate, current, easy-to-understand details on government-funded projects. Moreover, the sunshine cast on the government’s books serves as a deterrent to fraud and waste. 

The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, created by Congress in 2009, was charged with ensuring maximum transparency and accountability in federal stimulus spending under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It was a good idea, but the Board faced many skeptics and enormous challenges, including...