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Recovery Board Depends on Sunlight's SOO

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, July 17 2009

An interesting Recovery.gov-related detail bubbles up from our comments. I noted in a post yesterday that the Recovery and Accountability Transparency Board had posted the Statement of Objectives for the multi-million dollar overhaul of Recovery.gov. But the Sunlight Foundation's Luigi Montanez pointed out in a comment that the Scribd document I had linked to was actually a copy of the SOO that posted by Sunlight Labs.

I scratched my head for a minute, and then figured out where the confusion came from. In discussing the contract on Recovery.gov, the RAT Board -- the official government entity charged with overseeing the $800 billion federal stimulus -- is not using its own internal materials. It's instead linking off to a version that Sunlight scanned in from a hardcopy and posted to Scribd. (See the last line on this Recovery.gov page.) Montanez points out that Sunlight's hardcopy scan is no replacement for a digital version of the source document. Montanez also has some great info on what's next in the Recovery.gov redesign process:

The contract is [FOIA-able], and Devaney has indicated that he wants to publish it even without a FOIA request, as soon as the mandatory "Award Dispute Period" is over, which is today. The strange irony behind that is the contract is forbidden to be published during the period when it is supposed to be able to be disputed.

Stay tuned.