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DATA Act: Report on DOT’s Submission

Required by the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014
Project ID: 
FI2018018
What We Looked At
The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) reinforces Federal agencies’ compliance with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which requires that Federal agencies maintain reliable data on spending and financial assistance. The Department of the Treasury makes these data available to the public at USASpending.gov. The DATA Act requires that every 2 years through 2021, inspectors general assess their agencies’ data submissions. Accordingly, our audit objectives were to assess (1) the completeness, timeliness, quality, and accuracy DOT’s fiscal year 2017, second quarter financial and award data submitted for publication on USASpending.gov and (2) the Department’s implementation and use of the governmentwide financial data standards established by OMB and Treasury.
 
What We Found
DOT’s submission was timely and almost complete but we could not assess its accuracy because we could not rely on data in Treasury’s data collection system and other external systems. Furthermore, we could not assess the submission’s quality because the guide on submission reviews requires that quality be assessed by considering accuracy in addition to completeness, timeliness, and internal control. While DOT’s submission was nearly complete, FHWA and FAA officials informed us that their submissions omitted certain transactions. Lastly, our assessment of internal control did not reveal any issues that were significant to our audit.
 
The Department implemented and used the data standards, and the OAs used the data elements as required. DOT’s Office of the Secretary provided feedback to Treasury and OMB throughout the drafting and issuing of the Standards’ definitions. By understanding and using the Standards, DOT reduces the risk of errors and increases the likelihood that the reports will be timely, complete and accurate.
 
Our Recommendations
We made three recommendations to help DOT improve its data submissions under the act and DOT concurred with all three.

Recommendations

Open

Closed

No. 1 to OST

Determine whether utility obligations are reportable for DATA Act purposes.

No. 2 to OST

Improve controls to ensure that SLSDC excludes its zero dollar invoice related transactions from submissions.

No. 3 to OST

Improve controls to ensure that FAA excludes micro- purchases from submissions.