Research into e-government is relatively new. Nevertheless, much contemporary thinking and writing about e-government is driven by normative models that appeared less than a decade ago. The authors present empirical evidence from three surveys of local e-government in the United States to test whether these models are accurate or useful for understanding the actual development of e-government. They find that local e-government is mainly informational, with a few transactions but virtually no indication of the high-level functions predicted in the models. Thus, the models do not accurately describe or predict the development of e-government, at least among American local governments. These models, though intellectually interesting, are purely speculative, having been developed without linkage to the literature about information technology and government. The authors offer grounded observations about e-government that will useful to scholars and practitioners alike.