Issue Brief 12-19
April 27, 2012

On April 25, 2012, the House of Representatives approved the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2012 (H.R. 2146, DATA Act). The bill is slightly different from the one that was reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last year, and incorporates some feedback from state groups. While states support the overall goals of the legislation, they remain concerned about the magnitude of reporting, timelines for implementation, and lack of funding. 

Specifically, the DATA Act would mandate full multi-tier recipient reporting and require recipients to report on the use of funds, although some information would be prepopulated with data from federal agencies. The bill also establishes the Federal Accountability and Spending Transparency Commission fashioned after the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to 1) coordinate and oversee grant and contract reporting; 2) create common data elements and data standards; and 3) focus on reducing fraud, waste, and abuse. The commission would publish the federal spending data required in the bill on the existing website., the Census Bureau’s Consolidated Federal Funds Report, and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance would be transferred to the commission. Finally, the bill would establish an advisory committee that would include representatives from state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and other individuals that represent the interests of recipients of federal funds and contracts. The commission and advisory committee would sunset in seven years.