Commonsense Conservative For Ohio


New federal spending database a boon to private companies seeking government work, Portman says

By Carrie Ghose

June 06, 2014


U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says Big Data initiatives such as Columbus Collaboratory LLC and Ohio State University’s analytics push can help put Central Ohio in the lead for using a recently passed federal spending sunshine law to power economic development.

Portman discussed the recently enacted Data Act, which he co-authored, during a Friday visit to the future Columbus office of the Collaboratory – a for-profit data analytics and cybersecurity firm owned jointly by seven of Central Ohio’s largest companies.

Portman, R-Cincinnati, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, were co-sponsors of the bipartisan legislation requiring all federal agencies to provide complete spending data in a standard format that can be downloaded from a new website, The public would be able to search and sort spending records by appropriation, agency, program and type of expense.

On the flip side, companies and researchers that win federal contracts will have simpler, standardized ways to report how they spend the money and comply with terms.

“I do think on the private (sector), the (law’s) implications have been under-appreciated,” Portman said. “Columbus can take the lead on this – figuring out how to mine this data, use this data.”

The law will help Ohio businesses grow, said Jim Laipply, program manager for Procurement Technical Assistance Centers of the Ohio Development Services Agency, which has nine offices statewide coaching Ohio businesses on winning state and federal contract work.

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