21st Century Government Latest News
- Posted byon May 16, 2011 at 1:18 PM EST
Today, the President and Vice President released their 2010 financial disclosure reports.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires high-level federal officials to publicly disclose their personal financial interests. The public filing system serves to prevent financial conflicts of interest by providing for a systematic review of the finances of government officials. Those finances are set forth in annual disclosures which are reviewed and certified by ethics officials. Neither the President nor the Vice President have any conflicts of interest, and their reports have been reviewed and certified by the independent Office of Government Ethics. We are continuing this Administration's practice of affirmatively posting these forms online here in the interests of transparency:
- View the President's 2010 financial disclosure report (pdf)
- View the Vice President's 2010 financial disclosure report (pdf)
White House staff are also completing their forms and we anticipate they will be available here next month, also in electronic form.
- Posted byon May 3, 2011 at 8:28 AM EST
For too long, the Federal Government allowed the American people’s hard-earned tax dollars to fund ineffective and duplicative projects, failing to leverage advances in technology to achieve savings. The result is that taxpayer dollars have been wasted. This should never be tolerated, but particularly with the tough fiscal situation, it’s unacceptable. It’s time that we live within our means, cut the waste too prevalent in Washington, and live up to our responsibility to the American people.
The President has made it a priority of his Administration to change the way Washington does business. As he has said many times, including in his State of the Union Address, reducing overlap and duplication within the federal government is critical to ensuring that our government operates more efficiently and effectively.
When it comes to information technology, there is no better way to identify duplication than to look at the very infrastructure that powers duplicative systems. Since 1998, the number of Federal data centers has risen from 432 to more than 2,000. The proliferation of infrastructure has created an environment that enables redundant systems and applications to sprout like weeds – with hundreds of redundant applications, more than 24,000 websites and hundreds of HR and financial management systems across the government.
- Posted byon May 2, 2011 at 7:28 PM EST
Two years ago, the White House launched official profiles on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Since then we’ve grown quite a bit, both in terms of the number of connections we’ve made through these sites, as well as other places on the web that now feature an official White House presence.
As I wrote then, technology continues to change how and where Americans get information and discuss important issues online. It’s also means that any organization, including the White House, must recognize that its website is only one part of an effective online platform.
- Posted byon April 29, 2011 at 2:25 PM EST
In September 2009, the President announced that – for the first time in history – the White House would routinely release visitor records. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in January 2011. Today’s release also includes several visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in March 2011 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the grand total of records that this White House has released to over 1.25 million records. You can view them all in our Disclosures section.
Ed. Note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.
- Posted byon April 19, 2011 at 10:42 AM EST
The General Services Administration (GSA) has launched a new Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) webpage. This new page provides the public with accessible information about federal advisory committees—committees chartered under federal law to develop policy advice or recommendations for federal agencies.
The public will now be able to retrieve information about advisory committee membership, costs, meetings, and contact information. The user friendly site provides not only information about individual committee members but also information about the composition of specific committees. GSA’s new user friendly site also links directly to the websites of many of the individual federal advisory committees.
GSA’s effort to provide more information about federal advisory committees supports efforts to move FACA management and implementation to newer technologies. Electronic FACA, or eFACA, is the broader name given to the agency’s efforts to guide other agencies about the best use of technology to reduce the costs of advisory committee meetings and increase public access. In addition to the information provided on the new website, GSA provides data on executive branch federal advisory committees through:
- The Shared Management System or FACA Database– The public can view the full GSA data set of advisory committee information from 1995 to the present on www.gsa.gov/facadatabase. GSA is currently working to expand the availability of data on federal advisory committees for years prior to 1995.
- Data.gov– In efforts to expand public access to data on federal advisory committees, GSA made 12 years of data sets available (1997 through 2008). Earlier data will be added as made available, as will newer data from fiscal year 2009 and FY 2010.
- Library of Congress– The Library of Congress and GSA have collaborated since 2008 to make tens of thousands of historic advisory committee documents available online. This has resulted in the materials uploaded to a Library of Congress website and linked to GSA’s current online and public-facing Shared Management System.
- Individual Executive Departments and Agencies– Agencies provide data on their federal advisory committee management and operation through their own federal advisory committee websites. GSA’s new website provides links to many of these sites.
GSA’s newly designed site shows the agency’s continuing commitment to a more efficient and more open government.
Steven Croley is Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy.
- Posted byon April 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM EST
Every day, the Federal Government is engaged in communication with the American public. When Federal agencies are explaining how businesses can comply with legal requirements, or informing people about Federal services and benefits, they should write clearly and avoid jargon. But far too often, agencies use confusing, technical, and acronym-filled language. Such language can cost consumers and small business owners precious time in their efforts to play by the rules.
The good news is that relatively small efforts to communicate more clearly can minimize that burden. Take this example: the Federal Communications Commission used to receive so many questions from the public about its requirements for ham radio operations that five full-time employees were needed to provide answers. After the requirements were written in plain language, questions dropped off so dramatically that all five of those employees could be reassigned to more pressing activity at the Commission.
In short, writing in plain language can make a huge difference. That is why President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010 into law last October. By improving government communications, the Act will not only save money but also facilitate two-way communication between agencies and the public and make it is far easier for people to understand what they are being asked to do.