In an address Wednesday, President Obama said that, when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passes (as it presumably will), taxpayers will be able to track the distribution of the money online.
I know that some are skeptical about the size and scale of this recovery plan. I understand that skepticism, which is why this recovery plan will include unprecedented measures that will allow the American people to hold my Administration accountable. Instead of just throwing money at our problems, we'll try something new in Washington - we'll invest in what works. Instead of politicians doling out money behind a veil of secrecy, decisions about where we invest will be made public, and informed by independent experts whenever possible.
And we will launch a sweeping effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government, and every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new website called recovery.gov. Because I firmly believe with Justice Brandeis that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and I know that restoring transparency is not only the surest way to achieve results, but also to earn back that trust in government without which we cannot deliver the changes the American people sent us here to make.
Transparency advocates at places like the Sunlight Foundation, however, are hoping for more -- the ability to remix the information to suit their own needs.
Recovery.gov is mostly blank at the moment; a message says that when the act passes, an oversight board will routinely update the site "as part of an unprecedented effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government."