Stanford students launch transparency website as state denies request for financial transparency

150 150 John Guenther

In an effort to increase transparency and accountability, a group of students from Stanford University has launched a website to reveal how California state government spends taxpayer money.

The launch comes as a request from California Common Sense (CACS) for detailed state government financial records is denied.

David Siders from the Sacramento Bee reports:

The students requested documentation of every transaction, including the smallest.

Dakin Sloss, president of the group, said the students initially asked for five years of data, then three, then one. “There just seems to be an unwillingness to put data out there.”

Brown spokesman Gil Duran said in an e-mail that state employees “spent a considerable amount of time providing information to these students for their project, but their demand for millions and millions of pages of documents detailing every stamp, paper clip and pen purchased by the state in the past five years was unreasonable and overly broad.”

He went on, “Nonetheless, we hope they enjoyed their visit to the Capitol and wish them well in their noble quest for common sense.”

Sloss said some other states, including Illinois and Texas, have provided transaction-level detail.

California Common Sense (CACS) is a nonprofit founded in 2010 and run by students, with the goal of increasing transparency in the state’s executive branch to improve California’s fiscal health.

CACS hopes to uncover inefficiencies and propose policies to increase efficiency.


John Guenther

All stories by: John Guenther