This week is “Sunshine Week” –an annual celebration of the importance of transparency and citizens’ access to information about our government. In keeping with the spirit of the week, Senator Ernst introduced new legislation called the Cost Openness and Spending Transparency Act (COST Act) which requires every project supported with federal funds to include a price tag with its cost that is transparent and easily available for taxpayers.
While these cost disclosures are supposed to be required already for some agencies, an investigative report released this week from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that many federal departments aren’t even monitoring or enforcing compliance at all.
A review by Senator Ernst’s office identified several government projects that didn’t follow the law. Among them: a $90,000 NIH study focused on a sour cream and onion flavored potato chip resembling Elvis Presley. The Washington Times covered this “salty” story.