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A New Step in Accountability and Fighting Fraud

OMB Deputy Director for Management Jeff Zients announces the launch of the Government Accountability and Transparency Board, an initiative to help make government spending more efficient and more effective by increasing transparency and accountability.

For too long the federal government allowed billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on things that are inefficient, unnecessary, or just plain dumb.  That’s why from day one, President Obama has been steadfast in his commitment to creating a government that is fully accountable to the citizens that it serves.  Through efforts such as the Campaign to Cut Waste, OMB and the federal agencies are changing the way Washington does business and aggressively hunting down and eliminating misspent tax dollars across the federal government.

Today marks another important step in this pursuit, as we are announcing the launch of the new Government Accountability and Transparency Board (GATB). The President has named a group of the federal government’s top waste, fraud, and abuse watchdogs and other agency leaders to this Board. Starting with the first meeting this morning, these leaders are developing plans to enhance transparency in federal spending and root out and stop waste, fraud, and abuse in federal programs.  
This new Board, established in last month’s Executive Order on “Delivering an Efficient, Effective and Accountable Government,” will draw on the lessons learned from our work to track stimulus spending under the Recovery Act.  The GATB will provide the strategic direction necessary to make the President’s vision for transparency and accountability in all Federal spending a reality.
Under the tireless leadership of the Vice President, the Administration took this vision for transparency and accountability and applied it to the Recovery Act.  We got stimulus money out the door quickly yet responsibly.  We made sure that Recovery Act recipients reported back to the American people on how projects were progressing, and put this information up for all to see and scrutinize on  And we worked with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board  to keep fraud and waste at historically low levels and make sure that funds went to the right people and for right purposes.  In doing so, we learned a number of indispensable lessons about how government should conduct its business in the 21st century.
Our challenge now is to put these lessons to use across the federal government, and that is where the GATB comes in.  The Board will recommend a broad range of strategies to make spending data more reliable and accessible to the American people.  They will also make recommendations to broaden the Administration’s use of cutting edge technology to crack down on fraud, and focus on integrating data systems and using data for better decision-making.  In doing so, the Board will offer a comprehensive vision for the management of federal spending that will fundamentally change how government works.  And it will ensure that this vision is executed in the most cost-effective, efficient and logical manner.
To make sure we get it right from day one, the President has tapped Earl Devaney, a driving force behind the success of the Recovery Act through his leadership at the Recovery Board, to be the interim chair of this new effort.  Today, Chairman Devaney and the members of the GATB sat down and began strategizing how to reform the way we collect, display and analyze government spending data.  This Administration has already made tremendous strides in making government more open and cracking down on wasteful or fraudulent spending, and now we’re kicking it into high gear.
The President has designated the following individuals to serve on the GATB:
•           Earl E. Devaney – Chairman, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board

•           Ashton B. Carter – Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Department of Defense

•           W. Scott Gould – Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs

•           Allison C. Lerner – Inspector General, National Science Foundation

•           Daniel R. Levinson – Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services

•           Ellen Murray – Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Health and Human Services

•           Calvin L. Scovel III – Inspector General, Department of Transportation

•           Kathleen S. Tighe – Inspector General, Department of Education

•           Daniel I. Werfel – Controller, Office of Management and Budget

•           David C. Williams – Inspector General, United States Postal Service

•           Neal S. Wolin – Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury

Jeff Zients is the Deputy Director for Management and Chief Performance Officer.