Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Breakthrough Financial Open Data Legislation To Be Introduced May 20

By Dennis D. McDonald

See Addendum below for updated information about this bill.

Today I got this announcement from the Data Transparency Coalition:

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and a bipartisan group of cosponsors will introduce the Financial Transparency Act of 2015 at a press conference tomorrow at 2 pm in room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Supporters of open data and the public are welcome to attend.

Originally known as the MADOFF Transparency Act, this act “…will require each of the nine main financial regulators to adopt standardized data fields and formats for the information they collect under the securities, commodities, and banking laws.”

A few items are of special interest if you read the summary of the original version of the Act (

  1. Treasure Department will promulgate data standards for the information that financial regulatory agencies collect from the entities they regulate.
  2. Standards will be adopted by the Federal Reserve System, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Securities and Exchange Commission, Treasury Department, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  3. Agencies will be required to evolve from paper and pdf documents to searchable data made public.
  4. SEC will replace “…its existing XBRL with a data that is both human-readable and machinereadable.”
  5. Last but not least, “…the Treasury Department to promulgate a common identifier for legal entities - codifying the existing effort to promote the universal use of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), which has been ongoing since 2010, and which has so far been adopted by the CFTC and FDIC.”

Note that the above are from a document published in March; what is announced on May 20 may differ. Nevertheless, pushing for standardization of such regulatory information will greatly enhance public access and transparency — as long as effective governance and sufficient resources are made available to support the process and the systems that provide public access. On the questions of governance and resources the March 24 document is unfortunately silent. 

ADDENDUM May 26, 2015:

The Data Transparency Coalition has published a summary of the bill here.

Govtrack provides the following information for the bill via its Bill Widget:

Related reading:

Copyright © 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Dennis is an independent project management consultant based in Alexandria, Virginia. His experience includes consulting company ownership, open data, database publishing and data transformation, managing the integration of large systems, corporate technology strategy, social media adoption, statistical research, and IT cost analysis. Clients have included the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Library of Medicine. His web site is located at and his email address is On Twitter he is @ddmcd.

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