Despite a broad push for transparency, our government has a long way to go to get there, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Issa, R-CA. spoke about his vision Wednesday for improving open government and federal spending transparency at the O’Reilly Media 2011 Strata Summit, a day after President Obama renewed a call for transparency globally.
Issa emphasized the importance of making government data available online in real time so that innovative minds can immediately make use the information to build their own businesses. Business, in turn, would help the government identify program mismanagement and data quality problems.
The Chairman specifically singled out Vice President Biden as a supporter of efforts to find a common solution to make data available in a systematic way. He also talked about the difficulty of nations worldwide in getting their arms around the issue.
“I was recently meeting with senators from Argentina. They’re very interested in getting to transparency. But I explained what is transparent is what we report (and we) are very selective on what we put out,” he said.
It’s “good government but not real transparency,” Issa added. “What we hope to be is looking at the same core data and then to encourage a healthy debate as to what we see.”
Issa made his comments a day after President Obama appeared at an Open Government Partnership in New York that the U.S. and Brazil are co-chairing. He’s challenging nations to embrace government transparency.
The Obama administration has shown initiative in experimenting and using new technology so everyone can see how government works, said Gabriela Schneider, communications director of the Sunlight Foundation that uses the internet to foster open government.
“Our initial review of the Open Government Partnership Plan gives us a chance to look toward the future where governments will be open and accountable to their citizens,” she said.