As noted yesterday, U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) introduced the Making All Data Open for Financial* Transparency Act, or the MADOFF Transparency Act.
Although not too much has been written yet about H.R.2477, Hudson Hollister, Executive Director of one of the Act’s main supporters, the Data Transparency Coalition, gave a nice, tight interview about it. You can listen in full here*:
The legislation has been in the works for three years.
You can hear echoes of Doug Cutting’s talk. Specifically, Cutting took a question about what kind of expansion of tagging might we see as big data evolves. Since it’s hard to imagine that the nine agencies that Issa’s financial transparency effort seeks to standardize and format wouldn’t qualify as big data, it’s good to hear Hollister address the issue of tagging fields.
Hollister also does a nice job describing what exactly the nine agencies (see the list here) need to do and how these steps will enhance data sharing between the agencies, as well as research and analysis.
My favorite part by far is when the host asks Hollister about the original name of the bill. I noted that cleverness yesterday. Turns out, I’m not the only one who thought it was unique. Hollister recalled how the Washington Post named it “the best Congressional acronym name ever” – at least for that week. Sweet. Hollister says the story of the name has roots in the fact that difference offices within the SEC didn’t know that each other was getting data from Madoff that, if they had been sharing data, would likely have tipped them off to his frauds.
Each agency will be in charge of which fields and formats will be the standard. However, the Office of Financial Research at the Treasury Department will be required to determine financial sector-wide fields, especially, Hollister points out, the legal entity identifier. He also stressed that this will enable consolidated reporting, something he says is foreign to the United States but is being done in other countries.
In terms of, will we see this become law and when, Hollister said that it has been assigned to both the Financial Services Committee and the Agriculture Committee. A look at the co-sponsors indicates that it is indeed quite bipartisan (i.e., out of 11 sponsors more than a token one from the other side is listed). The progress and process of the bill involves the leadership of the committees deciding what they will do with the bill. Hollister closed by saying that the DATA Act took three years to pass and while he knows it will take time he believes this one will too.
*A typo in Federal Drive’s description lists Issa as a “D” – he is an “R.”