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Issa Says Life Will Go on for Open Government Sites

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, April 18 2011

In his update on the state of play for open government funding, the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe captures one objection to cuts in the electronic government funds -- things are just getting warmed up:

Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists and a longtime expert on reducing national security secrecy, said that potential is what’s being lost with the cuts.

“What makes these programs most interesting and important is not what they have already achieved but what they might become,” he said.

The sites, he added, “are all flawed, and they all need refinement and improvement, but that’s to be expected. With proper support and encouragement, they could foster a constructive new mode of interaction between government and the public.”

Or, to borrow a sage line from Mark Zuckerberg's fictional incarnation, "We don't know what it can be. We don't know what it will be."

Meanwhile, Darrell Issa, chair of the House oversight committee, is saying that he'll find a way to keep the doors open on Data.gov and the like. "We will find a way, and this is a personal pledge, to make sure they are not shut down," said Issa, reports the Hill. Issa says that there's hope for specific allocations for specific programs, an alternative to the current method of dumping millions of dollars in a pot and leaving it to open government administrators in the executive branch to figure out how to spend it.