Gary D. Bass is the executive director of the Bauman Foundation. In 1983, he founded OMB Watch, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that promotes greater government accountability and transparency and increased citizen participation in public policy decisions. He left OMB Watch in July, 2011, after nearly three decades.
An expert on federal budgetary, program management, regulatory and information policy issues, Dr. Bass has published extensively, testified before Congress, appeared on national television and presented to groups across the country. Areas of expertise include his understanding of the apparatus of government, particularly the executive branch of the federal government and nonprofit advocacy rights.
Gary has led many advocacy campaigns—often in coalition with local, state and national groups—in pursuit of a government that promotes social justice and responds to community needs. He led OMB Watch in challenging a number of provisions in the Contract with America and successfully stopped proposals that would have undermined our society's safety net. Working with a wide variety of public interest organizations, he stopped: a “no money, no mandates” measure that would have resulted in state and local governments being exempted from complying with federal laws; a constitutional amendment to balance the U.S. budget that would have seriously harmed human service delivery; a variety of regulatory provisions that would have undermined health, safety and environmental protections; and various efforts to silence the advocacy voice of charities across the country.
Dr. Bass was also selected as one of the NonProfit Times Power and Influence Top 50 for 11 times, between 1999-2010, and in 2011 he received the Chairperson’s Award from the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities for his leadership and dedication in national public policy. In 2008, he received the Public Access To Government Information Award from the American Association of Law Libraries.
Dr. Bass is a strong advocate for strengthening government transparency and using newer technologies to empower citizens and community groups to challenge unchecked institutional power. In 2006, he successfully championed passage of a law that required the government to create a searchable website providing information about government spending. At the same time, OMB Watch launched www.FedSpending.org, which has proven invaluable to journalists, public interest organizations and citizens– and served as a model for how the government should implement its requirements to create a searchable website. And back in 1989, Dr. Bass created RTK NET, (the Right-to-Know Network), a free online service that provides the public access to government environmental data, including the Toxics Release Inventory.
With the rapid increase in government secrecy following September 11, 2001, Dr. Bass spoke out against the erosion of the public’s right to know. He helped form a powerful coalition, www.OpenTheGovernment.org, that includes journalists and advocates who are pursuing more democracy and less secrecy. Honoring his role in protecting public access to government information, the Freedom Forum inducted him into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in 2006.
Dr. Bass is also an affiliated professor at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute where he teaches about advocacy and social change. He also teaches in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate program at Georgetown's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership. Prior to founding OMB Watch, Dr. Bass was president of the Human Services Information Center. He also served as director of liaison for the International Year of Disabled Persons; worked as a consultant on several projects in special education and the mental health of children and youth; and served as special assistant to Wilbur Cohen, then chair of the Michigan Governor's Task Force on the Investigation and Prevention of Abuse in Residential Institutions.
Dr. Bass received a combined doctorate in psychology and education from The University of Michigan, along with the University's highest award for graduate student teaching and several awards for academic excellence.