In a letter to White House Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who chairs a Senate subcommittee tasked with federal financial management and government information, asked for details about what potential cuts to the E-Government fund would mean for the administration’s open-gov goals.
Carper said he wrote “out of concern for the future viability of the transparency and information technology management initiatives” that receive funding through the E-Gov fund.
In his original budget request, President Barack Obama had requested $34 million for the fund, which pays to runs such sites as Data.gov and the IT Dashboard, but in the continuing resolution compromise that averted a government shutdown two weeks ago, the fund received only $8 million.
That drastic cut has put the Office of Management and Budget, which administers the fund, in the uncomfortable position of having to decide which of its slate of open-government websites will stay up and which will have to be pulled.
“I remain concerned with how the new lower funding level for the E-Gov Fund might not only impede the progress made thus far to make government more open and transparent, but also harm efforts to cut wasteful and duplicative spending in the federal government,” Carper wrote. He noted a recent Government Accountability Office report, which found that the IT dashboard had detailed areas for potential savings. “I worry, then, that the decision to cut funding for the E-Gov Fund may well prove to be penny-wise and pound-foolish,” he wrote.
“I hope you can provide greater information about what specific efforts paid for by the E-Gov Fund will be affected by these cuts,” he said, also requesting information about how OMB “intends to maximize the funding available.”