04/13/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

You Can Help With Government Accountability

The idea is that if we see where the money goes, in Washington and elsewhere, we can start to see where the problems are.

In this case, you check out the Federal contractor database, and check out what's been spent at your zipcode. Brian Lehrer at WNYC, a really good public radio station, is getting a few people to participate, and to see what the results are.

Help us test the government's new transparency initiatives. How easy is the system? How useful is the information?

The Obama administration requested that government agencies post
data online in an easily searchable format by last Saturday, February
6th. In order to test the effectiveness and accessibility of this "data
dump," we want you to help search through the USA Spending Contracts
Database, which contains data on all government contracts from the last
10 years. Follow the instructions below and report on your user

My results include the following:

Total dollars: $1,363,741

Total number of contractors: 27

Total number of transactions: 112

Top 5 Products or Services Sold

 Biomedical -- Basic Research (R&D)$372,279
 Outerwear, Women's$273,569
 Fruits and Vegetables$259,723
 Miscellaneous Ship and Marine Equipment$90,165
 Hose, Pipe, Tube, Lubrication, and Railing Fittings$71,378