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It is one of the unlikelier alliances in the 2008 presidential campaign: what possibly could bring together Barack Obama, Sam Brownback and Ron Paul? The answer: the highly ambitious, if infelicitously named, Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act.

The act is meant to bring average Americans a kind of Google for the federal government, an online search engine that will allow citizens to look up any company, organization or other entity receiving federal contracts, grants and earmarks. The act was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush last year, but some of its supporters charge that federal agencies are already dragging their feet on its implementation.

To rally support for the initiative, a coalition led by the libertarian Reason Foundation asked the 2008 presidential candidates sign a pledge that would commit them to issuing an executive order in the first 30 days of their administration directing all departments and agencies to join in the "timely implementation of the letter and spirit" of the act.

Only Obama, Brownback and Paul signed the pledge. (Fred Thompson was not asked, since he is not yet an official candidate.) Mike Flynn, the Reason Foundation's director of government affairs, said he wasn't sure why the other candidates declined.

"They just kind of dodged. They just always kept punting," he said. "It's staggering that they wouldn't sign, because this is already federal law."

Flynn said he expected that among the top searches on the site would be information on spending at FEMA, the Department of Defense and Department of Transportation. "The great thing is that people of all ideologies are going benefit from this," he said. "That's why it's stunning that [the other candidates] wouldn't sign."

--Alec MacGillis

By Washington Post editors  |  August 24, 2007; 7:35 PM ET
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I totally agree with tweakenreaper. Its our right to know where the federal government spends their money and just how much they spent. Its already federal law, what the hell is going on?

Posted by: jwhelt2 | August 28, 2007 1:10 AM | Report abuse

The more Americans know about our government, the better chance we will have to control the growth, spending and destruction of liberty from Washington.

Read and sign the Ron Paul Is Right - Abolish the Federal Reserve Petition at

Posted by: ronholland | August 27, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for letting me know about one more reason to support Ron Paul for President.

Hope everyone else is noticing that Clinton, Romney, Giuliani, Edwards would not sign this statement to enforce a law.

Posted by: goneresistance | August 27, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

If the I.R.S. wants a detailed list of my spending, then why can get a detailed report of where they spend my money? i got no choice how much they take so the least they could do is tell me where it went....

Posted by: tweakinreaper | August 25, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

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