05.06.15

Lankford Transparency Bills Pass Committee

Bipartisan Good Governance Bills One Step Closer To Vote In Senate

WASHINGTON, DC – Two bills introduced by Senator James Lankford (R-OK) to increase government transparency were today reported out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during a markup hearing – the Truth In Settlements Act and the Taxpayers Right To Know Act. Both pieces of legislation expose government waste and improve federal accountability.

“The Truth In Settlements Act and the Taxpayers Right To Know Act are a major step forward in increasing transparency and accountability in the federal government,” said Lankford. “The funds that the government spends is not government money, it’s the taxpayers’ money and they deserve to know the details of how and where it’s being spent. I’m pleased the Committee approved these bills and I hope they will be brought to the Senate floor for a vote without delay.”

Truth in Settlements Act (S. 1109):

On April 28, Lankford and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the Truth In Settlements Act, which would require federal agencies to post information about major settlement agreements. When federal agencies close investigations and settle cases, they release the dollar amount obtained from the offender, but in many cases the amount is misleading because of tax deductions and other ‘credits’ built into the settlement that reduce the settlement's true value. The Truth In Settlements Act will require more accessible and detailed disclosures about agreements to allow the public to hold regulators accountable for the true value of the settlement to the taxpayers.

Taxpayers Right To Know Act (S. 282):

On January 28, Lankford introduced the Taxpayers Right To Know Act, which would require the federal government to make public the details, costs, and performance metrics of every federal program. Specifically, this bill would create a central database for financial data and performance metrics for every federal program, requiring every federal agency to provide taxpayers an annual report card for all of its programs. The original co-sponsors include: Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Michael Enzi (R-WY), and John McCain (R-AZ). The bill approved by Committee today was modified by a Lankford substitute amendment, which encompassed several changes made to provide the needed flexibility to successfully implement it. As a U.S. Representative, Lankford introduced the bill (H.R. 1423) last year and it passed the House by voice vote. The bill was cleared by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, however, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not bring the bill up for a vote before the full Senate.

Lankford is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management within the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Management of the federal agencies and its workforce falls under Lankford’s Subcommittee jurisdiction.

###