ClearSpending Background on Federal Spending Reporting Systems: "Clearspending analyzes the quality of data in USASpending.gov. To fully understand our analysis — and to understand why it’s necessary — it is important to know the history of the systems that have evolved into USASpending.gov.
The infrastructure used to track federal spending has been steadily growing over the course of decades, in a process that has all too often involved ad-hoc alterations to outdated systems rather than thoughtful redesign. The story of how this occurred is every bit as complicated and problematic as the systems themselves. We’ve taken data from other federal reporting systems and compared it with just the grants data found in USASpending.gov across three categories: Consistency, Completeness and Timeliness. How close are the reported dollar amounts to the yearly estimates? How many of the required fields are filled out in each record? And how long did it take the agency to report the money once it was allocated to a project?"