Reports on Good Government

The reports below represent a sample of Frontier Group’s work on Good Government. For more of our reports on this and related topics, please visit www.PolicyArchive.org. Full archive coming soon.

Debt Collectors: CFPB Data Reveal Consumer Complaints by Company

For most of its history, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has stood up for consumers, including by publishing detailed analyses of financial complaints. However, the CFPB's latest report fails to include the names of companies that receive the most complaints for abusive debt collection practices. This new analysis fills in the gaps, telling the story the Trump administration won’t about the problems consumers face with debt collection agencies across America.

(June 2018)
Shining a Light on Consumer Problems: The Case for Public Access to the CFPB’s Financial Complaints Database

The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney, is considering removing public access to the CFPB's online repository of more than one million complaints related to consumer problems with financial products. The Consumer Complaint Database provides revealing data on problems that affect millions of Americans - and removing it from public access would deprive consumers of a critical tool for understanding and protecting themselves from interactions in an increasingly complex marketplace.

(June 2018)
Following the Money 2018: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

State-operated transparency websites provide checkbook-level detail on government spending, allowing citizens and watchdog groups to view payments made to individual companies, details on purchased goods or services, and benefits obtained in exchange for public subsidies. All 50 states now operate websites to make information on state expenditures accessible to the public. Yet while many have made continued improvements in transparency websites, Following the Money 2018 finds that states still have a long way to go in making critical data about state spending truly accessible to the public. 

(April 2018)
Fair Elections in Montgomery County: Matching Program for Small Contributions Delivers Promising Results

The Fair Elections law adopted in Montgomery County, Maryland, provides candidates for county-level positions with matching funds if they agree to accept contributions only from small donors. This analysis of early fundraising data finds that the program is setting a promising example of campaign finance reform in action.

(January 2018)
Big Money in Oregon State Elections: The Need to Restore Balance to Democracy by Empowering Small Donors

The dominance of large contributors over every aspect of the political process – from decisions regarding which candidates run for office to the ability of those candidates to convey their messages to the public – makes our democracy poorer. In Oregon's 2016 state elections, large donors outgave small donors by nearly 14 to 1.

(February 2018)
Following the Money 2017 - Governing in the Shadows: Rating the Online Financial Transparency of Special District Governments

“Special districts” are a type of government agency that exist outside of traditional forms of general purpose local or state governments, and serve key governmental functions such as public transit or housing. A review of 79 special districts’ online financial transparency shows that while a few districts are meeting the goals of “Transparency 2.0” – a standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility – the vast majority do little to inform citizens about how they spend money. 

(April 2017)
Highway Boondoggles 3: Big Projects. Bigger Price Tags. Limited Benefits.

America spends tens of billions of dollars each year on wasteful highway projects that are unnecessary or damaging to our communities - even as crying needs for road maintenance and better transportation options go unmet. Highway Boondoggles 3 examines nine dubious highway projects from around the country, costing more than $10 billion, that will do little to address real transportation needs.

(April 2017)
Blocking the Sun: Utilities and Fossil Fuel Interests That Are Undermining American Solar Power - 2016 Edition

Behind the scenes, electric utilities, fossil fuel interests and powerful industry front groups have begun chipping away at the key policies that have put solar energy on the map in the United States – often in the face of strong objections from a supportive public.

(December 2016)
Path to the Polls: Building a More Inclusive Democracy by Preregistering California's Youth

Starting in the fall of 2016, 16- and 17-year-olds in California will be allowed to “preregister” to vote, ensuring that they are listed on the voter rolls the moment they turn 18. Voter preregistration provides California with an opportunity to improve young voter participation, but state and local officials must take proactive steps in order to make preregistration a success.

(September 2016)
Following the Money in New Jersey Cities: Online Budget Transparency in Local Government

Municipalities across the country have been moving toward making their checkbooks easily accessible to the public by posting government spending information through on-line transparency portals. Yet, none of New Jersey’s 15 most populous municipalities – which are home to 20 percent of the state’s population and spend more than $3 billion in public funds every year – has an online open checkbook that meets modern standards of government transparency.

(September 2016)
Following the Money 2016: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

State governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Public accountability helps ensure that state funds are spent as wisely as possible. Following the Money 2016 is the seventh annual evaluation of state transparency websites. It finds that states continue to make progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending.

(April 2016)
Following the Money 2015: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. State governments across the country have made their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals – government-operated websites that allow visitors to see who receives state money and for what purposes. Following the Money 2015, our sixth annual ranking of states' progress toward online spending transparency, documents the progress states have made in the past year in empowering citizens to track state spending.

(March 2015)
Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. State governments across the country have made their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals – government-operated websites that allow visitors to see who receives state money and for what purposes. Following the Money 2014, our fifth annual ranking of states' progress toward online spending transparency, documents the progress states have made in the past year in empowering citizens to track state spending.

(April 2014)
Following the Money 2013: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. State governments across the country have made their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals – government-operated websites that allow visitors to see who receives state money and for what purposes. Following the Money 2013, our fourth annual ranking of states' progress toward online spending transparency, documents the progress states have made in the past year in empowering citizens to track state spending.

(March 2013)
Getting Our Money's Worth?: Promoting Transparency and Accountability for Corporate Tax Subsidies in Massachusetts

The people of Massachusetts deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent, including on tax subsidies for businesses. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth provides only limited transparency and accountability for spending through the tax code in the form of “special business tax subsidies.” Getting Our Money’s Worth? identifies where Massachusetts is falling short and the steps it can take to ensure Bay Staters are getting the most bang for their buck from business tax subsidies. (March 2013)

(March 2013)

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