The American People Have a Right to Know

Coburn Passes the Most Important Transparency Legislation in a Generation

Where do the trillions of dollars the Federal Government spends each year actually go? USAspending.gov

Now citizens can track their tax dollars through the website www.usaspending.gov, established as a result of legislation (P.L. 109-282) authored by Dr. Coburn. The website enables taxpayers to find out how their money is being spent by politicians and bureaucrats in Washington through a comprehensive, searchable database.

The legislation encountered stiff opposition from politicians behind closed doors whose anonymous objections were eventually overcome by the determined efforts of bloggers and other interested Americans who made countless phone calls and sent hundreds of e-mails across Capitol Hill.

Coburn Amendment Forces Senate to Open it Own Books


Leadership by example? U.S. Capitol Dome

Dr. Coburn returns an average of $400,000 annually from the budget allotted to operate his Senate offices and to date has returned about $2 million. Recognizing that other congressman and senators should trim fat from their offices, Coburn offered an amendment in January 2010 to cut 5 percent from the current Legislative Branch budget. The amendment failed 46 to 48, despite the fact Congress had recently increased its internal budget by $245 million.

However, the Senate adopted a key amendment by Dr. Coburn in 2009 that will force the Senate to post all the details of its own spending on a public website. The new site to debut in 2011 will be in a searchable format and allow voters to see how each individual senator is spending the money allotted for their offices.

Duplicative Federal Programs Will Now Be Exposed

By a vote of 94-0 in January 2010, the Senate agreed to an amendment by Dr. Coburn that will force the first comprehensive and regular audit to identify federal programs and agencies that are duplicative, with estimates on the cost to taxpayers, and recommendations for consolidation. Recent investigations by Dr. Coburn have revealed hundreds of federal programs that duplicate one another, costing taxpayers billions to administer.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will lead this new effort and will issue regular reports to members of Congress and to the American people.

Appropriations Bill Now Disclose Earmark Requestors

Thanks in large part to the efforts led by Dr. Coburn and allies all across America, appropriations bills now identify the name of the Senator or Representative requesting special earmark giveaways. New procedures also limit the ability of appropriators to “airdrop” or insert these special interest provisions at the last minute behind closed doors.

Dr. Coburn continues his aggressive push for greater earmark transparency to expose this corrupting practice.

Coburn Amendment Shines Light on FEMA Decision Making

fema logo Data gathered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make Major Disaster Declarations has historically been kept secret, leaving storm victims and state emergency management officials to question whether decisions were made solely on merit or the influence of politicians.

During consideration of the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill, Dr. Coburn successfully passed an amendment that requires FEMA to make its preliminary damage assessment report available on its public website after a decision has been finalized. This allows for consistent comparisons over time to ensure fairness and limit political interference.
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