In the new era of transparency, the federal government’s auditing clearinghouses have been freed to use their own databases, which are now available for anyone to access.
The agencies have been using the federal data repository, called Audit Management System (AMS), since 2013, when the Bush administration launched the program to oversee government spending, a move that critics have argued would allow for excessive government control over the lives of Americans.
The government has not publicly explained the reasoning behind the change, and its officials have repeatedly insisted the move is needed to improve transparency in the U.S. The data repository was launched under President Barack Obama, who wanted to be transparent about government spending and accountability.
Under the Obama administration, AMS was used to track and audit federal spending.
Critics argued the government would not be able to use the data for economic purposes because it would be shared with private companies, like those that handle financial transactions.
The Federal Government Accountability Office (FGAO) and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently released a report that found that AMS has not improved its transparency.
They found that since AMS launched, more than 1.6 million individuals have accessed the data through the federal database and more than 6,400 federal employees have used it to review their financial records.
The GAO also found that, between 2014 and 2016, the number of government employees who have used AMS to review financial records more than doubled from 0.4 million to 2.1 million.
The CRS also found there were more than 11,500 individuals who accessed AMS from 2014 to 2016 who were able to view the financial information of their spouse or partner, their child, or a third party.
The CRS report noted that, of the 1.2 million federal employees who used AMs, 1.4 percent accessed the information in the last three months of their workyear, while only 0.3 percent accessed it in the preceding five years.
“As we noted in the CRS analysis, AMSS data has become more complex and complex, and more users are accessing the data,” said Katherine D. Miller, a senior policy analyst at the CRE.
“There is an increasing number of people who are using the data to get a better sense of what they can do with their financial information, and the data is becoming more and more valuable to them.”
In response to the report, the Crescents said the government is making changes to AMS that will ensure that federal agencies are able to make accurate financial information available to the public.