Today, I attended a meeting featuring www.ffata.org, a recently unveiled database operated by Global Computer Enterprises, Inc. – the same company that owns and operates FPDS-NG. Following in the footsteps of OMB Watch’s www.fedspending.org, GCE brings federal contract and grant spending information to the public in a very user-friendly format. GCE’s portal to government information mirrors the recently added “ezSearch” function in FPDS-NG (if anyone still uses that data) and more features (RSS, exporting, and company synonyms) are forthcoming. GCE’s new database allows users to conduct word searches to find information about agency contract actions, contractors receiving federal dollars, and the types of goods or services purchased by the government. The database further allows the user to restrict results, sort the data, and drill-down to link to the actual FPDS-NG site for all the summary data entered for a specific contract action.
It’s a shame that publicly accessible federal spending information is being brought to the taxpayers by non-governmental organizations, but, heck, some insight into how the government spent over $420 billion is desperately needed. I’ll be genuinely happy, however, when the government figures out how to post actual contracts and delivery and task orders rather than summary data so that we can see the substantive deals that the government is making.
-- Scott Amey