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New Data Released on Fedspending.org: October 17, 2012

On October 17, 2012, the contracts and assistances database on Fedspending were updated with information updated by the government as of July 17, 2012, covering a period from FY 2000 through part of the third quarter of FY 2012. The Recovery Act database was also updated with the latest information available, a set updated on Sep. 19, 2012, covering a period from Feb 2009 through June 2012.

New Data Released on Fedspending.org: July 9, 2012

On July 9, 2012, the Recovery Act database on Fedspending was updated with the latest information as of June 20, 2012, covering a period from Feb 2009 through March 2012.

New Data Released on Fedspending.org: May 4, 2012

On May 4, 2012, all three databases in Fedspending -- contracts, assistance, and Recovery Act data -- were updated with new information. Federal assistance data is now available from FY 2000 through the first quarter of FY 2012, contracts data is available from FY 2000 through the first quarter of 2012, and Recovery Act data for contracts, grants, and loans awarded from Feb. 17, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2011. In addition, we have updated our Fedspending server so that more frequent updates will now be possible.

New Data Released on Fedspending.org: May 18, 2011

On May 18, 2011, FedSpending.org was updated with new federal assistance data, which provides site users with data from fiscal year 2000 through the first quarter of FY 2011, and includes new data fields. Federal contract data will be updated soon.

New Recovery Database Available on FedSpending.org

On Dec. 2, 2009, a new database of Recovery Act data was released on FedSpending.org. Available under the "Recovery" tab, this database allows searching over 160,000 reports from recipients of almost $159 billion in Recovery Act contracts, grants, and loans awarded between Feb. 17 and Sept. 30.

Read the press release announcing the new database.

As with the original FedSpending.org website, Rich Puchalsky did the programming and Kathy Cashel designed the Recovery tab. Denise Moore assisted with programming and static tables. Adam Hughes, Sean Moulton, Craig Jennings, Sam Rosen-Amy, and Gary Bass were the policy staff on the project and other Center for Effective Government staff helped with testing early versions of the site.

New Data Released on FedSpending.org: Oct. 22, 2009

On Oct. 22, 2009, FedSpending.org was updated with new federal data, which provides site users with full spending data for federal contracts through part of the first three quarters of FY 2009 and federal assistance data for the first two quarters of FY 2008. The FedSpending.org database now contains over $21 trillion in federal spending dating back to FY 2000.

New Data Released on FedSpending.org: July 29, 2008

On July 29, FedSpending.org was updated with new federal data, which provides site users with full spending data for federal contracts through the first two quarters of FY 2008 and federal assistance data for the first three quarters of FY 2007. This update also made minor site improvements, including added advanced search functionality and bugs fixes. The FedSpending.org database now contains over $18.7 trillion in federal spending dating back to FY 2000. Read more

FedSpending.org Reaches 10 Millionth Search!

In June, 2008, less than two years after it first launched, FedSpending.org logged its 10 millionth search by a person. In that time, FedSpending.org has grown to process more than 1 million searches by people each month from approximately 400,000 unique visitors. The usage and visit rates for FedSpending.org website continue to be overwhelming and we are continuously gratified by the public response. Read more about the 10 Millionth Search.

One-Year Anniversary of FedSpending.org: October, 2007

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of FedSpending.org, we released a new and improved version of the website, with a complete data set through FY 2006 for both contracts and Federal assistance spending. This new version also includes major functionality upgrades, including the addition of a mapping feature on all searches, creation of a streamlined and powerful SuperSearch for all advanced searching needs, and increased flexibility in getting data more quickly through expandable summary views.

The mapping feature (which appears in the upper-right hand corner of all search results) allows users to view federal spending graphically, either at a national level (broken out by state) or at the state level (broken out by congressional districts). In addition, earlier versions, the "summary" output pages on FedSpending.org displayed the top 5 or top 10 of certain search categories such as products and services or contracting agencies. FedSpending.org now has the functionality to expand those lists within the "summary" view to include all data under each category.

Finally, FedSpending.org has been redesigned to consolidate the advanced search options into a more versatile and powerful SuperSearch (available at the top of the left-hand navigation bar in both the contracts and grants tabs).

Previously, the advanced search options were organized intro three separate search functions (by contractor/recipient, by place of performance, and by agency) that often limited the combinations of fields users could run searches on. The consolidation of these three options into one simplifies the user interface and expands the possible searches to allow for a greatly expanded search function that was previously available on the site.

Second Update to FedSpending.org: Sept. 20, 2007

On Sept. 20, 2007, we released another updated version of FedSpending.org, including new data for FY 2006 and FY 2007, addtional search functionality, greater accessibility for people with disabilities, and patches and upgrades for reported bugs. The site now contains contracting data through the second quarter of FY 2007 and federal assistance data through the first three quarters of FY 2006.

In addition, users now have the ability to narrow contracting searches by using contractor characteristics, such as "minority owned business," or "8A firms," just to name a few. This function is called "Contractor Characteristics" and can be found in the Contracts SuperSearch within the "Contracts" tab.

Finally, FedSpending.org now has added accessibility for people with disabilities (read more about accessibility upgrades and compliance). We plan to continue to upgrade the site to expand accessibility in line with standards established by the disability community. Please contact us should you experience any problems accessing the web site.

First Update to FedSpending.org: Feb. 22, 2007

On Feb. 22, 2007, we released an updated version of FedSpending.org, including updated data for FY 2006, improved navigation, upgraded features, and an application programming interface (API) for advanced users. Below is the announcement describing the updated version of the site, as well as some screenshots with new features highlighted.

Initial Launch of FedSpending.org: October, 2006

FedSpending.org relies on the federal government's data for this website. The data is largely from two sources: the Federal Procurement Data System, which contains information about federal contracts; and the Federal Assistance Award Data System, which contains information about federal financial assistance such as grants, loans, insurance, and direct subsidies like Social Security.

The data are often missing parts or sections and at times are significantly limited in its usefulness. This is solely because of the way the government collects and manages the information. The Center for Effective Government is not responsible for the quality of the data and hopes the use of this website will prompt the government to improve the quality of the information it collects and provides to the public.

The Center for Effective Government obtained the Federal Assistance Awards Data System data from the U.S. Census Bureau. It obtained the Federal Procurement Data System data from Eagle Eye Publishers, Inc. in order to obtain a wider range of years of data than obtainable from the government's FPDS-NG site and because Eagle Eye also cleaned up some fields in the database.

This website would not be possible without the support of the Sunlight Foundation, which made a three-year $334,272 grant to fund FedSpending.org, $194,687 of which will be spent in the first year. The Sunlight Foundation supports using new information technologies to enable citizens to learn more about what Congress and their elected representatives are doing, and thus ensure greater transparency and accountability by government, help reduce corruption, and foster public trust in the vital institutions of democracy.

The Center for Effective Government started development of this website after years of frustration over not being able to obtain information about federal contracts and grants. We believe the public has a right to know how government spends money so that citizens can hold elected officials accountable for the national priorities they set.

We hope this site serves as a prototype for the recently passed Federal Accountability and Transparency Act passed in Congress that requires the Office of Management and Budget to provide a free online database of all federal spending. Not only will FedSpending.org function as a tool for the public and journalists to find out about government spending, it will also serve as a tool to easily measure the success of OMB in this endeavor.

Credit for developing the site goes to Sean Moulton and Adam Hughes, who lead our work team. Rich Puchalsky did the programming for the site, and Kathy Cashel did the web design. Nick Bartoli, Gary Bass, Dana Chasin, Craig Jennings, Matt Lewis, Denise Moore, Clay Northouse, and George Sorvalis played important roles in building the site. We also want to thank a number of reviewers including Scott Amey, Larry Makinson, and Tim Yeaney.

Section 508 Compliance for FedSpending.org

The FedSpending.org website complies with all of the automatic checkpoints of the Section 508 Accessibility Guidelines, and has been manually verified for nearly all of the manual checkpoints.

This compliance has been tested using the Watchfire WebXACT program. Because FedSpending.org uses dynamically generated Web pages, it is not possible to test literally every page. However, each dynamically generated output style can be tested. Screenshots of Watchfire WebXACT results for each of these styles, and the major static HTML pages of the site, are listed below:

Manual checkpoints listed in these results, and the steps taken to manually check them, are:

Paragraph c: If you use color to convey information, make sure the information is also represented another way. Fedspending.org does not use color to convey information, except within pie charts that are duplicated as HTML data tables. In all other areas, color is used only for graphic design.

Paragraph g: If this is a data table (not used for layout only), identify headers for the table rows and columns. Spot checks show that occurances of this warning are generally for tables that are used for layout only. There are a few tables in the Summary level of detail output which have no headers, but in these cases the tables have only two columns, one with a value and the other with a dollar value for it, e.g. "Alabama: $1,564,504". These appear to be fairly understandeable without headers.

Paragraph h: If a table has two or more rows or columns that serve as headers, use structural markup to identify their hierarchy and relationship. This does not appear to occur.

Paragraph d: If style sheets are ignored or unsupported, ensure that pages are still readable and usable. To the best of our knowledge, based on its design, the application will work without style sheets.

Paragraph l: Provide alternative content for each SCRIPT that conveys information or functionality. To the best of our knowledge, based on its design, the application wiil work without Javascript turned off.

Paragraph j: Make sure that the page does not cause the screen to flicker rapidly. The application does not cause the screen to flicker.

Paragraph p: If a timed process is about to expire, give the user notification and a chance to extend the timeout. The application does not use timed processes.

Paragraph o: Make sure users can skip repetitive navigation links. This message only appears on pages with many links in the body of the page, such as the FAQ. These are functional rather than merely repetitive links.