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Transparency Caucus Supports Open Government

The bi-partisan caucus, formed in the House, will promote Americans' access to government information.

Two members of the House of Representatives have formed a caucus, creating a bi-partisan effort to promote the Obama administration's open government initiatives.

U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) formed the Transparency Caucus to support legislation that requires federal information to be freely accessible, as well as to push for new transparency initiatives, according to a press statement by Rep. Quigley's office.

The caucus plans to focus particularly on supporting President Obama's Open Government Directive, which requires government agencies to make data sets available online and sets standards for transparency in government.

When he took office, Obama promised to make the government more accountable for how it spends taxpayer money by providing access to information about that and other activities through the use of technology.

In the last year or so, this plan for a more open government has spurred agencies to create a host of new Web portals giving people more access to information.

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra even testified before Congress this week that one of the directive's new resources, the Federal IT Dashboard, helped save the Department of Veterans Affairs $54 million in taxpayer money by helping it cut unnecessary IT projects. The Federal IT Dashboard lets people track government IT projects online.

The caucus plans to use education, legislation, and oversight to promote transparency in the Federal government, and has created seven principles to support its mission.

Those principles assume all Americans should have free access to data about government activities -- including spending, rules, regulations, and oversight -- as possible.

A list of the principles can be found on Rep. Quigley's Web site.

The caucus also plans to monitor how transparency laws and directives already in place are being enforced, particularly when it comes to the Open Government Directive.

In addition to Quigley and Issa, more than a dozen members of the House of Representatives, both Republican and Democrat, have expressed interest in joining the caucus. Interested legislators include representatives from Illinois, New York, Utah, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, California, Colorado, and Missouri.

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