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Even as the debate over official secrecy grows on Capitol Hill, basic information about the government’s spending remains hidden in plain sight. Information that is technically public, federal finance, awards, and expenditures, is effectively locked within a disconnected disclosure system that relies on outdated paper-based technology. Budgets, grants, contracts, and disbursements are reported manually and separately, using forms and spreadsheets. Researchers seeking insights into federal spending must invest time and resources crafting data sets out of these documents. Without common data standards across all government spending, analyses of cross-agency spending trends require endless conversions of apples to oranges.

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