Press Releases

Sen. Carper Raises Concerns Regarding Cuts to Fund Promoting Transparency and Accountability for Federal IT Projects

Warns Cuts to Electronic Government Fund are 'Penny Wise and Pound Foolish'

Apr 22 2011

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, wrote to Vivek Kundra, the Federal Chief Information Officer and Administrator, regarding his concerns about the deep cuts to the Electronic Government (E-Gov) Fund enacted last week as part of the Fiscal Year 2011 funding agreement. Sen. Carper noted that, while the E-Gov Fund pays for a number of important public websites and initiatives – such as USAspending.gov, Data.gov, and the IT Dashboard – that have been credited with promoting transparency of government information, program performance, and federal spending, the fund only received $8 million of the $34 million the President requested for its operations. Sen. Carper expressed apprehension about the impact of these cuts on the E-Gov Fund's ability to continue its progress in making government more open and transparent, as well as harming efforts to cut wasteful and duplicative spending in the federal government. 
 
"I remain concerned with how the new lower funding level for the E-Gov Fund might not only impede the progress made thus far to make government more open and transparent, but also harm efforts to cut wasteful and duplicative spending in the federal government. In a recent report detailing potential sources of duplication and overlap in government, the Government Accountability Office cited data center consolidation as a clear way the federal government could streamline itself and save taxpayer money. The President's budget detailed over $3 billion in cost savings as a result of the information provided by the IT Dashboard. I worry, then, that the decision to cut funding for the E-Gov Fund may well prove to be penny-wise and pound-foolish," wrote Sen. Carper.
 
Sen. Carper asked Mr. Kundra to provide additional information about the impact of the cuts to the E-Gov Fund's efforts to enhance transparency and ensure the effective use of taxpayer funds. 
 
The text of the letter follows:
 
April 21, 2011
 
Vivek Kundra
Federal Chief Information Officer and Administrator
Electronic Government and Information Technology
Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office of the President
1650 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20503
 
Dear Mr. Kundra:
 
I am writing out of concern for the future viability of the transparency and information technology management initiatives funded through the Electronic Government (E-Gov) Fund.
 
As you know, the E-Gov Fund pays for a number of important public websites and initiatives that aim to promote transparency of government information, program performance, and federal spending. Among those are USAspending.gov, Data.gov, the IT Dashboard, the forthcoming Performance.gov, data center consolidation support, and cloud computing services. The President requested $34 million for the Fund but it received only $8 million in the funding resolution enacted last week.
 
Thank you for joining our recent hearing on the President's information technology reform plan. As you will recall, you were asked at that hearing about what these cuts to the E-Gov Fund might mean, and you said your office was "still evaluating the implications." You also said that you would "have to make some tough decisions about which systems are going to have to go offline versus what systems can be supported with an $8 million fund."
 
I remain concerned with how the new lower funding level for the E-Gov Fund might not only impede the progress made thus far to make government more open and transparent, but also harm efforts to cut wasteful and duplicative spending in the federal government. In a recent report detailing potential sources of duplication and overlap in government, the Government Accountability Office cited data center consolidation as a clear way the federal government could streamline itself and save taxpayer money. The President's budget detailed over $3 billion in cost savings as a result of the information provided by the IT Dashboard. I worry, then, that the decision to cut funding for the E-Gov Fund may well prove to be penny-wise and pound-foolish.
 
Legislation that I introduced last week with several of my colleagues, the Information Technology Investment Management Act of 2011 (S. 801), recognizes the importance of shining a light on spending to produce better results for less money on many fronts. The American people expect their government to spend money through an open window, not behind a closed door.
 
I hope you can provide greater information about what specific efforts paid for by the E-Gov Fund will be affected by these cuts. In addition, I hope you can provide information about how your office intends to maximize the funding available or use other available agency funding to pay for some of these initiatives and how our subcommittee can be of help.
 
 
Sincerely yours,
 
 
Senator Thomas R. Carper
Chairman
Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management,
Government Information, Federal Services, and
International Security 
 

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