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OMB Updates Stimulus Reporting Guidelines

By Ed O'Keefe



Recipients of federal economic stimulus aid will soon have to start reporting all the details to a federal Web site. (Photo by Post)

The White House has launched a new Web site designed to assure that state governments and other recipients of federal economic stimulus funds fully report information on how the money is spent.

FederalReporting.gov will serve as the "one-stop-shop" for all information on the funding, according to the Office of Management and Budget. The agency's new guidelines apply to recipients of grants, loans and tribal agreements paid out with stimulus funding. It also applies to to contractors who get stimulus funding from the original recipients.

Peter Orszag
Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.

"People will be able to see who is receiving funds, what projects are underway, how money is being spent, and how many jobs are being created or saved," OMB Director Peter Orszag said in a statement. "They will know who is getting the funds and what the dollars are paying for."

Funding recipients must report all relevant information no later than the tenth day of each quarter and provide information on the total funding received and spent; the names of organizations used to help with stimulus-funded projects and the amount they receive; a list of all projects; and jobs associated with each project. (Read through the full details on OMB's Web site.)

If a vendor earns more than $25,000 for a stimulus project, the contracting entity must report the vendor’s name, the amount paid to them and what services they provided.

OMB officials first promised in April that these reporting guidelines would be issued by May. State and local governments and good government observers have eagerly anticipated the guidelines in order to measure their ease of use and transparency.

Craig Jennings, a federal fiscal policy analyst with the good government group OMB Watch, said the new guidelines will probably match his group's preference for central data collection by the administration, as opposed to an up-the-chain reporting method.

"From our conversations with the Administration, we understand that they were racing the clock just to implement the letter of the law and were less focused on wholesale transparency," Jennings said in an e-mail. "We have been told that they are still refining their reporting model based on stakeholder feedback, so we’re hoping to have another bite at the apple in subsequent guidance."

Additional guidance on how federal contractors will report stimulus information and ow the administration will interact with lobbyists is forthcoming, according to OMB.

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EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

For immediate release: Monday, June 22, 2009

Contact: OMB Communications

Streamlined Approach Ready for Recovery Funding Information

WASHINGTON, D.C…. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) today announced a streamlined web portal and updated transparency plans for reporting on Recovery Act projects around the country.

“The Recovery Act will provide people with an unprecedented level of detail into how their tax dollars are being spent. People will be able to see who is receiving funds, what projects are underway, how money is being spent, and how many jobs are being created or saved. They will know who is getting the funds and what the dollars are paying for,” OMB Director Peter Orszag said.

The OMB guidance directs the prime Recovery funding recipient to report—no later than the tenth day of each new quarter—information including:

· Total funds received and spent;

· Names of organizations brought on board to assist with a project and the amount paid to that organization;

· A list of projects, including location and completion timelines; and

· Jobs associated with each project.

Additionally, if a vendor is paid more than $25,000 to help with a project, the prime recipient needs to report the vendor’s name, how much was paid, and what services the vendor rendered.

The guidance also announced a new web portal, FederalReporting.gov, that will serve as a one-stop-shop for funding recipients to provide their funding information. This centralized reporting solution will reduce the reporting burden on recipients by simplifying reporting instructions and providing a user-friendly mechanism for submitting data.

“The states, companies, and organizations pushing forward with Recovery Act projects have been collecting this data. In turn, we’re putting in place a streamlined, manageable way for them to report and make the information available to the American people,” Orszag said.

The complete document is available at the OMB website.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | June 23, 2009; 12:39 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Tracking the Stimulus  
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