SIX STATES FAIL ONLINE TRANSPARENCY BAROMETER: Three states now making full disclosure of state contracts online

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 3, 2010: Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, and Wyoming have failed in the last year to make progress toward fully disclosing state contracting information online, according to a survey issued today by Ralph Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law (CSRL).

The CSRL surveyed state government websites in order to discover which states have made progress in online transparency in the last year by publishing the full text of state contracts online. Kentucky, Massachusetts and Arizona joined 40 other states in publishing the full text of state contracts through their purchasing and procurement office websites. Two jurisdictions – California and the District of California – are only making partial disclosures.

“This survey shows what has been done and what needs to be done to improve taxpayer access to information about state contracting practices,” said consumer advocate Ralph Nader. “Congress has made encouraging, although incomplete, progress with the passage of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency (FFAT) Act. Still needed are the full texts of these contracts – most states still fall short in mirroring the progress made on the federal level.” The FFAT was sponsored by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and cosponsored by then-Senator Barack Obama

Nader has long-championed online posting of federal contracts. Nader pressed Bush and Clinton Administration officials, including Office of Management and Budget directors Mitch Daniels and Josh Bolten, to make voluntary disclosures before Congress mandated disclosure in 2006.

Kentucky was highlighted in the report for the progress it has made in the last year. State officials began publishing the full text of state contracts as part of a larger online transparency initiative. “Kentucky went from a worst performer to one of the best full transparency states all in one year,” says Patrick Benton, author of the report. “This remarkable progress demonstrates the ease and speed with which all states could open their books to their citizens.

The 2010 State Contract Assessment is available at here.