“Transparency in Federal Government Spending” but not in CA

At a luncheon meeting today Patrick Gleason, State Coalitions Manager, Americans for Tax Reform, visited from Washington, DC. At the opening of the meeting he gave us some valuable tools relating to “Transparency in Government Spending” including one page that opens as follows:

In 2006, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Federal Funding Accountability Act (S.2590), creating a free, searchable website for all federal contracts and grants. It will provide access to data on all payments of more than $25,000 with several exceptions. The website went live on December 13, 2007 and can be accessed at www.USASpending.gov and www.federalspending.gov

Before drafting this post I spent some time checking out the information and, while numbers can numb your brain, I found it worth sharing with each of you. I recommend that you also check out the ATR website, www.atr.org

At the federal level, the ranking for FY2008 2Q’s top five parent companies, representing around 20 percent of the Federal Contract Awards, are:

Boeing $2,883,356,597; Lockheed Martin $2,438,000,514; Northrop Grumman $1,526,171,116; Los Alamos National Security $1,039,231,351; and Lawrence Livermore  National Security $996,006,153.

Our Mission Viejo Congressman is Gary Miller. Other readers of this blog are represented by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. As such I looked at specifics on each representative for comparison purposes.

In Gary Miller’s 42nd District, during 2007, our federal government utilized 291 contractors, covering 3,379 transactions, to the tune of $140,813,511

In Loretta Sanchez’s 47th District, our federal government utilized the services of 428 contractors covering 3,108 transactions to the tune of $168,821,842

Who were the top 3 lucky winning contractors (parent companies) in both examples?

In the 42nd Congressional District the top source, by total dollars, was Westland Meat Company who received $39,022,982. Coming in second was Cobham PLC (Carleton Technologies, Sargent Fletcher, Flight Refueling Limited) at $18,778,454. Finishing third was Beckman Coulter at $10,453,060.

In the 47th Congressional District the top provider was L-3 Communications/Titan Corp at $44,982,894. Coming in second was The Boeing Company at $35,802,194 and coming in third was General Electric Company at $22,178,569.

This Federal “free” website includes awards by contractor state, congressional district (as demonstrated above), by competitive type and product or service provided.

While some states have taken similar action California has not acted to offer similar transparency.

AB 1843, sponsored by Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-Carlsbad), would mandate an easily searchable on-line web site.
SB 1494, sponsored by Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), requested similar data.
In checking the current status of both proposed bills I discovered that they are sitting in Finance Committees collecting dust since May 22nd.

Perhaps our state legislators prefer not making it easy for us to see how and where our tax dollars are being spent.
What do you think?

About Larry Gilbert