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'Define PDFs'

BY Editors | Wednesday, January 14 2009

The actual contracts used in the implementation of the incoming Obama Administration's massive economic stimulus plan will be available to the public online - that's what Peter Orszag, the nominee for Office of Management and Budget chief, told the Senate government affairs committee today. According to TPM's Elana Schor, Orszag told the committee:

We plan to create a Web site that will contain information about the contracts and include PDFs or contracts themselves, and also financial information about the contracts.

Which prompted Senator Joe Lieberman's priceless rejoinder: "Define PDFs."

I think Schor's right about calling this development "a welcome promise, and one that will surely be a gold mine for us blogger types." Not to mention good government groups, watchdogs, gadflys and all the local activists who might interested to know where the money's going.

Here's more online transparency goodness from Orszag's opening statement - in which he also promised to make working for the government "cool again":

We also need to use technology to create more transparency around procurement and contracting. Current vehicles such as USASpending.gov suffer from a lack of timely and accurate data and a presentation that is not seen as engaging enough to attract widespread visits.

Technology can be a great way to create transparency that will spur competition and help identify problems.