Government Transparency

Shaping A Government Accountable to the People

How our government collects and spends money is critically important. Tax and budget decisions are the most concrete way that communities declare priorities and balance competing values.

Unfortunately, government decisions about how to raise revenue and support public functions often fail to best advance the public interest. Too often, public subsidies, tax breaks or special deals are granted to powerful corporate interests at the taxpayers’ expense. When this happens, taxpayers are stuck with the tab, or public resources and services end up threatened.

It is not possible to ensure that government decisions are fair and efficient unless information is publicly accessible. Likewise, public officials and private companies that receive contracts and subsidies must be held accountable for delivering promised goods and services.

Transparency in government spending checks corruption, promotes fiscal responsibility, and allows for greater, more meaningful participation in our democratic system. NCPIRG Education Fund is working to advance these goals on a variety of fronts:

  • Promoting public access to online information about government spending at a detailed "checkbook" level including contracts, subsidies and "off-budget" agencies. NCPIRG Education Fund's 2016 Following The Money report is the seventh annual scorecard of state's online budget transparency. This latest scorecard finds that states continue to make progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending, but some states are lagging and in all states there are opportunities to expand transparency to include economic development subsidies and quasi-public agencies.
  • Ensuring that companies that receive public subsidies are held accountable for delivering clear benefits or required to return public dollars. 
  • Protecting against bad privatization deals that sell off public assets on the cheap and diminish public control of vital public structures such as toll roads, parking systems and traffic enforcement. 

Find a full list of our reports here.

Issue updates

News Release | NCPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Small donor program reshapes presidential fundraising, new report shows

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in fundraising success under a proposed small donor matching program, according to a new study by NC PIRG Education Fund.

> Keep Reading
Report | NCPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Democracy for the People

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in fundraising success under a proposed small donor matching program, according to a new study by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

> Keep Reading
Report | NCPIRG Education Fund and Demos | Democracy

The Dominance of Big Money in the 2014 Congressional Elections

In 2014, large donors accounted for the vast majority of all individual federal election contributions this cycle, just as they have in previous elections. Seven of every 10 individual contribution dollars to the federal candidates, parties, PACs and Super PACs that were active in the 2013-2014 election cycle came from donors who gave $200 or more. Candidates alone got 84 percent of their individual contributions from large donors.

> Keep Reading
Report | NCPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Big Money Dominates in Congressional Primaries

Our analysis of fund-raising data from 2014’s congressional primaries examines the way these dynamics are playing out state by state across the country. While some states show markedly more inequity than others, the picture painted by the data is of a primary money race where large donors carry more weight than ordinary Americans. Nationwide, just under two-thirds of all candidate contributions came from the largest donors (those giving over $1,000). And fewer than 5,500 large donors matched the primary contributions coming from at least 440,000 donors nationwide.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Democracy

Members of Congress, help us reclaim our democracy

We, the undersigned organizations and small businesses, call on you to push back against the tide of big money in our elections by co-sponsoring H.R. 20, the Government By the People Act, or S. 2023, the Fair Elections Now Act. 

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | NCPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Small donor program reshapes presidential fundraising, new report shows

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in fundraising success under a proposed small donor matching program, according to a new study by NC PIRG Education Fund.

> Keep Reading
News Release | NCPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

New Report Released: Auctioning Democracy

Today NCPIRG Education Fund and Demos released a new analysis of the funding sources for the campaign finance behemoths, Super PACs. The findings confirmed what many have predicted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Citizens United decision: since their inception in 2010, Super PACs have been primarily funded by a small segment of very wealthy individuals and business interests, with a small but significant amount of funds coming from secret sources.

> Keep Reading
Report | NCPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Democracy for the People

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in fundraising success under a proposed small donor matching program, according to a new study by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

> Keep Reading
Report | NCPIRG Education Fund and Demos | Democracy

The Dominance of Big Money in the 2014 Congressional Elections

In 2014, large donors accounted for the vast majority of all individual federal election contributions this cycle, just as they have in previous elections. Seven of every 10 individual contribution dollars to the federal candidates, parties, PACs and Super PACs that were active in the 2013-2014 election cycle came from donors who gave $200 or more. Candidates alone got 84 percent of their individual contributions from large donors.

> Keep Reading
Report | NCPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Big Money Dominates in Congressional Primaries

Our analysis of fund-raising data from 2014’s congressional primaries examines the way these dynamics are playing out state by state across the country. While some states show markedly more inequity than others, the picture painted by the data is of a primary money race where large donors carry more weight than ordinary Americans. Nationwide, just under two-thirds of all candidate contributions came from the largest donors (those giving over $1,000). And fewer than 5,500 large donors matched the primary contributions coming from at least 440,000 donors nationwide.

> Keep Reading
Report | NCPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Auctioning Democracy

A new report by NCPIRG Education Fund and Demos shows an analysis of the funding sources for the campaign finance behemoths, Super PACs. The findings confirmed what many have predicted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Citizens United decision: since their inception in 2010, Super PACs have been primarily funded by a small segment of very wealthy individuals and business interests, with a small but significant amount of funds coming from secret sources.

> Keep Reading
Report | NCPIRG | Democracy

Following the Money

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Spending transparency checks corruption, bolsters public confidence in government, and promotes fiscal responsibility. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Democracy

Members of Congress, help us reclaim our democracy

We, the undersigned organizations and small businesses, call on you to push back against the tide of big money in our elections by co-sponsoring H.R. 20, the Government By the People Act, or S. 2023, the Fair Elections Now Act. 

> Keep Reading
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