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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration Officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Karen Evans
Karen Evans
December 17, 2003

Karen Evans
It's a pleasure to be on the White House on-line discussion today in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the E-Gov Act signing.

Beverly, from Cincinnati Ohio writes:
I think EZ tax filing is one of the greatest ideas that the government has come up with in recent years. What advances have been made with this program in the last year?

Karen Evans
The IRS Free File initiative has been very successful. Free File provides a single-point of access to free on-line preparation and electronic tax filing services. This past tax season 2.8 million taxpayers filed on-line. We have also seen progress in the Expanding Electronic Tax Products for businesses initiative which reduces the burden on business by making it easy to find, understand, and comply with relevant laws and regulations at all levels of government.

Robin, from Virginia writes:
The Bush Administration has been supportive of small businesses, which is a vital part of growing our economy. What has E-gov done to help small businesses and make it easier for them to take out loans, complete paperwork, etc?

Karen Evans
Through the President's Business Gateway initiative we are reducing the burden on businesses by making it easy to find, understand, and comply with relevant laws and regulations at all levels of government. This effort is being lead by the SBA. Going forward we will also be providing a single point of access for small businesses to locate loans through the E-Loans initiative.

Jen, from Jacksonville Florida writes:
Is, the Department of Homeland Security, a part of E-gov? How is e-gov helping protect America from terrorist attacks on our homeland? Thank you for making the U.S. a safer place to live for me and my family.

Karen Evans was created by the Department of Homeland Security to help citizens prepare for disasters and emergencies. It is part of the President's Disaster Management E-Gov initiative which is helping the first responder community at the Federal, State and local levels by providing on-line access to disaster management related information, planning and response tools.

Pam, from Virgina writes:
What E-Gov initiative is most sophisticated in its capabilities and services to the American people?

Karen Evans
E-Authentication. This initiative minimizes the burden on businesses, the public and government when obtaining services on-line by providing a secure infrastructure for on-line transactions, eliminating the need for separate processes for the validation of identity and electronic signatures.

Justin, from Reston Virgina writes:
What are the major successes for e-gov over the last year?

Karen Evans is the gateway to the government and has over 6 million visitors a month. Most recently launched in Español to provide government information in Spanish.

IRS Free File initiative which allowed 2.8 million taxpayers to file their taxes on line last filing season. considered the number one most visited on-line training site in the world. provides access to more than $2 trillion in federal benefit dollars on-line.

And most recently,, which allows federal grant customers to search and obtain information on over 900 grant programs from 29 federal agencies.

Penny, from Bowling Green KY writes:
Have you ever thought about creating statewide web sites that is a resource for public school students and helps them with their homework? Have state CIOs ever considered such an idea?

Karen Evans
This is a great idea and I will be happy to pass it along to the State CIOs. There are great resources on the Department of Education's web site to assist students with their homework. You can visit the website at

Dave, from Salt Lake City writes:
Many State Governments (including Utah) has their income tax short form available interactively on line. What are the chances of seeing the IRS do something similar for the 1040EZ form?

Karen Evans
Citizens can file their Federal taxes on-line through the IRS's Free File initiative at

As we are always discussing new ideas with the State CIOs we will follow-up on this idea to share our best practices.

Raul, from Silicon Valley writes:
Do you invest in any tech companies? If so, can you disclose which ones???

Karen Evans
No, I don't invest in technology companies. As a Federal procurement official, I am prohibited by ethics rules to invest in technology companies. But I wish I could...

Ross, from Glasgow, Scotland writes:
What is the E-Gov act all about.

Being Scottish, I don't really know these things

Karen Evans
Thank you so much for asking this question on the anniversary of the signing of the E-Gov Act!

The E-Gov Act pushes agencies to focus citizen-centered solutions to better deliver government programs and services which is also a key goal of the President's Management Agenda.

The Act offically established the Office of E-Gov and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget; established guidelines to further ensure privacy and security of Federal systems and information; and established a fund for Federal E-Gov initiatives.

Ken, from Washington DC writes:
As the Administrator of E-Gov, are you really tech savvy yourself? Did you ever study computer programming? C'mon tell us the truth

Karen Evans
Yes!:) I've studied Unix, C++, Basic, Cobol, Fortran, etc. and I've also worked as a systems administrator, programmer, program manager, systems developer, quality assurance and software tester. In addition, I have managed the deployment of systems nationwide to 2200 locations. However, this job isn't just about technology, it's about the business of government. I hold an MBA from West Virginia University. This training and education enables me to strategically plan for Federal IT business investments and prudently use taxpayer dollars.

Simon, from Sudbury, Massachusetts writes:
What are the fundamental issues E-Gov are facing? How should they be resolved? What would the outlook be?

Karen Evans
There are two main issues facing successful E-Government :

First we must continue to address the primary concerns of the citizen -- security and privacy.

Second we must continue to work collaboratively across agencies to achieve the President's vision of providing citizen-centered services.

Through successful implementation of E-Gov, the citizen would be able to have smooth interactions with the Federal government, regardless of the services, in a secure and private manner.

Karen Evans
Thank you all for sharing in the celebration of the E-Gov Act signing today by submitting your questions. For more information on E-Gov please visit the President's E-Gov web site at We look forward to more sucesses across the Federal government in E-Gov. Please continue to forward us your great ideas.