Congress Subverts Transparency in Digital Version of Expense Report

In a supposed bid to increase transparency in government, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Congress to post its quarterly expense reports (pdf) online, where the public can view them. But transparency took a hit in the digital age. The online version of the report lacks much of the detail that used to be included in the older paper versions of the reports. Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill, reported that for the new online version of the record, "Congressional administrators erased a vast array of details on the expenditures of House Members, making it impossible to determine what much of the money was actually spent on. As a result, while millions of Americans will for the first time be able to download and peruse the 3,400 pages detailing how Members spent their taxpayer-funded office accounts, they will no longer be able to see what items the Members purchased, which staffers were traveling on the taxpayer dime or where the Members are renting district offices." House members still report the same amount of detail to the House Chief Administration Officer, but that office scrubs many specifics out of the reports when it transfers them into a database.