Tracking Federal Dollars

Here are some federal databases on the Web to help track federal dollars, put up by LLRX.com,  which does legal research:

“Many of us in a position to be asked do not look forward to the inevitable questions that run along the lines of “did Organization X ever get any federal money?” or “how much do the feds contract out in industry Z?” The problem is that there will seldom be a simple, client-pleasing answer like “oh yes, $52,453,000.75 in fiscal year 2006, according to this single, comprehensive, and authoritative government database.” We have to be familiar with a variety of sources, their fundamental strengths and weaknesses, and the ways in which we will have to qualify our answers.

One of the inherent challenges is to educate your client about what qualifies as “federal money.” There are federal contracts of all shapes and sizes, loans, grants, and other forms of assistance. What’s more, contracts result in subcontracts and grant money can pass through one recipient on it way to another and another; little of this sub-award activity is tracked centrally.

Several central federal databases for contracts and awards information exist, and they can be accessed free of charge, but none of them is perfect.”

Go here for the entire article, by Peggy Garvin, published on April 24, 2007.

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