Estimate puts congressional spending on tech at $288M

Estimate puts congressional spending on tech at $288M
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Congress spent at least $288 million on technology services in 2014, according to an analysis by the OpenGov Foundation released Tuesday. 

The group billed the analysis as one of the best publicly available tallies of tech spending from Congress, despite many of the roadblocks in tallying up bills based on sometimes vague disbursement forms. 

The group said many aspects of congressional communications and staffing need to be updated to make use of better technology.

“Is $288,356,000 too much? Too little? We don’t know due to serious, perhaps fatal, data quality issues,” the group wrote in its analysis. 

House spending totaled at least $182 million that year, while Senate spending was at about $106 million. The group cautioned that the analysis is likely incomplete. 

In the House, the largest single expenditure was on equipment, followed by personnel and “rent, communication, utilities.” On the Senate side, the largest expenditure was on staff, followed by tech support, maintenance and software. 

Many of the top recipients of House spending are not well-known names, including telecom and computer equipment companies and constituent correspondence firms like CDW Government Inc., Novitex and iConstituent LLC. 

Verizon and AT&T, better-known wireless providers, also ranked high on the list of top recipients. Verizon received more than $8 million from the House, while AT&T received about $6.5 million.