Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Recovery.gov Redesign Costs Taxpayers $18 Million

According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Recovery.gov was meant to be a "user-friendly, public-facing website to foster greater accountability and transparency in the use of covered funds." The website was established by the Obama administration to allow taxpayers to monitor the "progress" being made by stimulus dollars and includes features such as weekly updates of agency funding notifications, financial and activity reports; map presenting state-by-state funding and recipients of funds and the resulting projects; and tools for the public to report waste, fraud, and abuse of recovery funds. But the amount of taxpayer dollars being used to fund the project's redesign has raised some eyebrows this summer.

According to ABC, the Maryland firm Smartronix was awarded an $18 million contract (lasting through 2014) to make the new website, "Recovery 2.0." The dollar amount allocated for this project is seen by many as a misuse of stimulus dollars. Conservative blog Hot Air points out that another website that serves the same function as Recovery.gov, for the entire federal budget, operates at only a fraction of the cost. The Republican National Committee also created an ad, suggesting the move is "outrageous" and "unreal."

Smartronix provides services for a number of government clients. In 2007, the firm received $47 million in government contracts alone. The Washington Examiner points out that Smartronix president Mohammed Javaid, vice president Alan Parris, and partner John Parris have contributed a combined $19,000 to Democrat and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer since 1999, leaving many to question whether or not other companies received the opportunity to bid on the project.

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