OPEN GOVERNMENT — Mark Tapscott, writing in last week, was skeptical of the supposed transparency of the House stimulus bill. He thinks which organizations get what money for what purposes will be carefully buried.

Democrats in the House are congratulating themselves for allegedly including historic levels of transparency and accountability in the $825 billion economic stimulus bill draft they released today. And indeed there are some definite steps forward in the draft, but a modestly close reading reveals that most of the "transparency" in this proposal is of the faux kind.
The oversight reporting provisions expressly do NOT go beyond the Freedom of Information Act, and all its exemptions are incorporated to allow redaction of data before it’s given to the public.
If including the FOIA commercial privilege exemption isn't sufficient to make the point, the legislation also says that all information that is “proprietary” under ANY state or federal law or regulation is also exempted from disclosure.
The Oversight Board to be established to monitor how the money is being spent will consist only of high-ranking executive branch appointees of the Administration. As former Rep. Ernest Istook observed, this means "the foxes will guard the henhouses."

On the brighter side, Tapscott added that

the Sunlight Foundation has a fantastic new feature on its web site, a Transparency Timeline for public access to Congress and its operations. This is just cool beyond words. I hope the growing transparency community in this country is able to unite and press for more genuine transparency provisions in legislation like the economic stimulus package, thus adding more points on that timeline.

"Cool beyond words" is right.