Coalition puts pressure on White House to back DATA Act

A group of organizations signed a letter released Tuesday, urging President Barack Obama to publicly support the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act and sign it into law when it reaches his desk.

A second letter was written to Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., both leaders in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, encouraging them to continue their resilience in passing the strongest version of the bill.

These two letters are in response to a leaked copy of the Office and Management and Budget’s revisions to the bill that surfaced in late January. According to this letter, the revisions would greatly alter the intent of the bill and would inhibit the authority of the DATA Act.

According to Matthew Rumsey, policy associate at the Sunlight Foundation, the OMB revisions would “strip these provisions of their power, rendering the legislation ineffective.”


The Sunlight Foundation is one of 17 organizations in the coalition formed to write these two letters in support of the DATA Act. Among other notable organizations to sign the letter are the Center for Responsive Politics, the Data Transparency Coalition, Gun Owners of America, National Priorities Project, the Project On Government Oversight, the Open Knowledge Foundation and Transparency International.

Daniel Schuman, policy analyst at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and one of the points of contact on the two letters, said the diversity of the organizations in the coalition speaks to the importance of transparency and what the government is doing.

“The details of the DATA Act can be intimidating for some,” Schuman said. “But what it comes down to is government keeping better track of its spending and making that information available to the people.”

The coalition suggests that based on previous policies such as the open data policy and the open government national action plans, the Obama administration should support data standardization and publication.

The DATA Act is currently being held up in the Senate, and Schuman said he cannot imagine Obama would not sign the bill into law.

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