For years, nonprofits have grown rather lazy in soliciting donations from supporters and instead, have opted for an easy way to get federal dollars. Millions of federal dollars pour into organizations with little say from the taxpayers, who have not supported those entities through their own donations.
On Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform approved by a vote of 19-15 H.R. 3316, the Grant Reform and New Transparency Act of 2013 (GRANT Act), sponsored by Subcommittee Chairman James Lankford, R-Okla. The GRANT Act is intended to improve the way taxpayer funds are awarded by enhancing the transparency and accountability of the federal grant process. Spending on grants has increased from $135 billion in 1990 to over $600 billion this past fiscal year.
“Much of what the federal government does with taxpayer dollars is carried out by states, localities, universities, and not-for-profits funded by federal grants,” said Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “Yet, far too little light is shed on these expenditures. The American taxpayer deserves to know how and why grants are awarded and what the recipients are doing with their hard-earned dollars.”
“The process by which the government manages federal grant awards should be open and honest, but unfortunately, many agencies lack disclosure standards and consistent procedures,” said Chairman Lankford.
The GRANT Act requires agencies to disclose more information about how they award discretionary, competitive grants. The bill requires each agency to post on a central website information about each grant opportunity, including the factors that will be used to evaluate proposals, a copy or abstract of the successful grant application, and the ranking of successful grant applications.
The legislation also requires that, upon completion of the grant, all reports submitted by the recipient must be posted online.
The Committee adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., to streamline the pre-grant financial management evaluation process for grantees that have received at least $10 million dollars in federal grants within the past three years.