OPEN GOVERNMENT — Ryan Grim, writing in the Huffington Post, notes that in comparing the House and Senate versions of the massive stimulus package legislation, readers doing a line-by-line check "noticed a change to the transparency section" in the Senate version, "but it's not as significant as it initially looked to be."

President Obama promised to set a new standard for openness and public disclosure of contracts and spending in the stimulus package now before Congress. The House responded by writing into the law a provision that would require all contracts to be posted to a website —
    The post was required to include the amount of investment, a description of the project, the purpose, the rationale, and whom to contact at the relevant agency if there are problems or questions. Obama and House leaders repeatedly hailed the disclosure requirement as meeting the high standard set by Obama during the presidential campaign.
    The Senate stripped out any reference to, and in this (suspicious) world, that immediately struck one reader as a major omission. However, a Senate Democratic aide said that the web address was stricken on the advice of legislative counsel, who advised that specifying a specific url wasn't appropriate in a piece of legislation. Instead, the Senate bill directs the creation of "a website."
    Still, there are noticeable differences between the proposed House and Senate websites. The House version puts forward specific requirements that must be disclosed. The Senate version is more subjective, requiring the site to be "user-friendly," for instance, and include "data on relevant economic, financial, grant, and contract information."