Organisation: El Universal (Mexico)

Publication Date: 04/10/2016

Size of team/newsroom:large


Trusts, the black boxes of governments, was carried out with two basic premises: Sort and systematize all existing trust in the federal government and that anyone understood how important it is to follow up on these financial instruments, because they come from public resources. During these months we have seen irregularities and opacities in these black boxes do not concern mostly the federal government, but local governments and even autonomous bodies who are allowed to create trust and entering into these contracts for various reasons. The result? We took on the task of taking a first step with this investigation in terms of the 614 trusts that existed from 2006 to 2014 in the federal government and those who were admitted more than 2 billion pesos. Subsequent task will investigate trusts entities. One of the first big challenges was, in principle, systematize all public trusts reported by the Ministry of Hacienda and the Congress. Of these trusts, we find information available from 2006, although since 2004 the then Federal Institute for Access to Information (IFAI) ordered its organization and systematization of the Ministry of Hacienda. The answer to no information available online, by Hacienda was simple: Because programs and softwares different for the creation and systematization of these files are used (this already means in itself, a big challenge for open government seeking boost). The first step was to order and systematize the information that we had. Then convert data from PDF to Excel and then convert the information to programs such as SQL or JSON for graphics. Another reason difficult to explain was the fact that several data are in "income" but with a negative sign. This information, Hacienda tried to explain the "availability" had not yet contemplated. After obtaining the data bases ready to work them, one of the main obstacles was how to graph this information. Finally managed to show through the browser 614 different graphics that allow acquaint the reader with the most important parts of the trust: Income (how much money you put into that bank account Hacienda), availability (as in a bank account, how much money It has today) and egress (which was removed from the bank account), allowing you to see, over the years (from 2006-2014) how much money was "moved" over time and behavior that had these trusts. Another relevant graph is which includes all trusts to show them by subject, as well as the priorities of the federal government as to how to spend the money they have in the trusts are denoted. The last graph is the one that concentrates topics and branches, to show all dependencies and how much money they accumulated who concentrated the largest number of trusts.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

"Trusts. The black boxes of governments", the site has a database of six hundred fourteen trusts over the past eight years, which can translate into more than six hundred stories we hope to tell at least most of them. As for the revelations, we consider that initially is worth noting the amount of resources on such financial instruments. Equivalent to nearly half the current public budget (2 billion Mexican pesos) and these resources are still managed on a discretionary basis. If there is more transparency in the money, probably not much opacity would be allowed. We believe that through this systematization and seekers of trusts and the stories that are revealed in each of them, will reveal to all what is inside of these "black boxes". One of the first stories we spending was unfortunate that the Trust was created for the Bicentennial Celebration. The site also has a search engine and interactive graphics, so they can know more detail information.

Technologies used for this project:

All graphs were built from scratch, with the D3 program.


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