To improve transparency in government spending, the Office of Management and Budget (ONB) launched USASpending.gov in 2007. For all the hoopla about greater accountability, a 2012 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the site lost track of more than $600 billion…out of some $1 trillion in government spending that year. As Investor’s Business Daily summed up:
Big Government: When it comes to incompetence, it doesn't get much better than this: The federal website meant to make government spending more transparent was found to be missing $619 billion.
Seven years ago, the Office of Management and Budget launched USASpending.gov to let the public easily track how their tax dollars were spent on contracts, grants, loans and other spending. It was supposed to be a big win for open government.
Except when the Government Accountability Office checked to see how well it tracked spending in 2012, it found the site to be less than useless.
The audit found that out of the roughly $1 trillion federal agencies spent in these areas that year, $619 billion of it didn't get reported to the site.
So who were the biggest losers? In first place, Health and Human Services, which didn’t report $544 billion in spending.
The runner-up was Veterans Affairs with $64 billion in unreported spending.
Rounding out the top three losers was the Department of Interior finished third with $5.3 billion in unreported spending.
As IBD continued:
More astonishing still, the GAO often couldn't verify information reported to USASpending.gov because original agency records weren't available or reliable.
That includes award amounts, which the GAO says are unverifiable in as many as 7% of reports, and the location where money was spent, which couldn't be verified up to 31% of the time. …
What does it say about a government so big and cumbersome that it can't even reliably tell the public where its money goes?
It says that it’s high time to return government to its constitutional bounds and let taxpayers keep of their hard-earned incomes.