Election Watch: Three candidates pledge tax transparency with order for Google government

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have signed oaths declaring that, should they win the presidency in 2008, they will issue an executive order during their first month in office instructing the entire executive branch to put into practice the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, a Google-like search tool that will allow you to see how your tax dollars are being spent on federal contracts, grants, and earmarks.

All of the major presidential candidates have been invited to sign the "oath of presidential transparency" which is being promoted by a diverse coalition of 36 groups, led by Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank that has advised the last four presidential administrations.

"The next president should be committed to transparency and accountability," said Adrian Moore, vice president of research at Reason Foundation. "Redesigning the federal government so that it is more accountable to taxpayers is a nonpartisan issue. Transparency will help produce a government focused on results instead of our current system, which is plagued by secrecy, wasteful spending, and pork projects."

"Every American has the right to know how the government spends their tax dollars, but for too long that information has been largely hidden from public view," said Obama. "This historic law will lift the veil of secrecy in Washington and ensure that our government is transparent and accountable to the American people."

"Government transparency is essential to government accountability. Americans need to feel they can trust their government," Brownback stated.

"When government spends the people's money, it must be done with utmost possible transparency," Paul, the first to sign the oath, declared. "Signing the Oath of Presidential Transparency was a no-brainer for me."

The oath was sent to every presidential candidate who has met the Federal Election Commission's filing requirements and has "raised or spent $50,000 or more (the threshold for mandatory electronic filing) from sources or to payees other than the candidate him or herself." The oath was first distributed to every presidential candidate's headquarters on July 17, 2007. Subsequently, at least five follow-up emails or calls were made to each campaign.

Full Oath Online

The complete oath of presidential transparency is available online.

About the Coalition

An alliance of 36 diverse groups is advocating the presidential accountability oath. The following groups are part of the coalition: American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, American Association of Small Property Owners, Americans for Tax Reform, Budget Watch Nevada, Capital Research Center, Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights, Center for Individual Freedom, Citizen Outreach Project, Citizens Against Government Waste, Doctors for Open Government, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Evergreen Freedom Foundation, FreedomWorks, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Iowa Public Policy Institute, Liberty Coalition, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Minnesota Free Market Institute, Mississippi Center for Public Policy, National Taxpayers Union, Nevada Policy Research Institute, Reason Foundation, Republican Liberty Caucus, Research Accountability Project, Rio Grande Foundation, Taxpayers League of Minnesota, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, The Harbor League, The Performance Institute, The Project on Government Oversight, The Pullins Report, The Rutherford Institute, US Bill of Rights Foundation, Velvet Revolution, Virginia Institute for Public Policy, and Washington Policy Center.

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