The board charged with overseeing the spending of stimulus money is still getting its bearings, according to Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board Chairman Earl Devaney. Devaney spoke plainly today at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on preventing waste, fraud, and abuse in stimulus spending. Here's an excerpt of Devaney's prepared testimony:

The status of the Board is what you might expect just 30 days after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) was signed into law. Specifically, the Board is in the process of acquiring staff, equipment, and office space, essentially trying to keep our heads above water and ensure that the Board fulfills all of its responsibilities under the Recovery Act. Our first Board meeting will be held next week.

Also interesting is that Devaney sees his first role as maintaining the website. Devaney said:

Regarding the Board's purpose, I view the Board as having a dual mission. First, the Board is responsible for establishing and maintaining a website, the purpose of which is not only to foster historic levels of transparency of Recovery funds but also to do so in a user-friendly manner. Second, the Board will coordinate and conduct oversight of Recovery funds to prevent fraud, waste or abuse.

That's not to say we should read too much into the order in which Devaney presented his board's two functions, but it hints at the significant role transparency, as an idea, is playing in how the Obama administration views its responsibilities of stimulus oversight.

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