Now over 1,000,000 Items to Search on Congress.gov [Cause to Celebrate?]

Now over 1,000,000 Items to Search on Congress.gov: Communications and More Added by Andrew Weber.

From the post:

This has been a great year as we continue our push to develop and refine Congress.gov.  There were email alerts added in February, treaties and better default text in March, the Federalist Papers and more browse options in May, and accessibility and user requested features in July.  With this October update, Senate Executive Communications from THOMAS have migrated to Congress.gov.  There is an About Executive Communications page that provides more detail about the scope of coverage, searching, viewing, and obtaining copies.

Not to mention a new video “help” series, Legislative Subject Terms and Popular and Short Titles.

All good and from one of the few government institutions that merits respect, the Library of Congress.

Why the “Cause to Celebrate?”

This is an excellent start and certainly Congress.gov has shown itself to be far more responsive to user requests than vendors are to reports of software vulnerabilities.

But we are still at the higher level of data, legislation, regulations, etc.

Where needs to follow is a dive downward to identify who obtains the benefits of legislation/regulations? Who obtains permits, for what and at what market value? Who obtains benefits, credits, allowances? Who wins contracts and where does that money go as it tracks down the prime contractor -> sub-prime contractor -> etc. pipeline?

It is ironic that when candidates for president talk about tax reform they tend to focus on the tax tables. Which are two (2) pages out of the current 6,455 pages of the IRC (in pdf, http://uscode.house.gov/download/releasepoints/us/pl/114/51/pdf_usc26@114-51.zip).

Knowing who benefits and by how much for the rest of the pages of the IRC isn’t going to make government any cleaner.

But, when paired with campaign contributions, it will give everyone an even footing on buying favors from the government.

Not unlike public disclosure enables a relatively fair stock exchange, in the case of government it will enable relative fairness in corruption.

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