The Project on Government Oversight, Inc.

Rating: 4.78 stars   316 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights

Location: 1100 G Street NW Suite 500 Washington DC 20005 USA

Mission: The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflict of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open and ethical federal government.
Results: Some recent examples of our work are: A) Partnered with IAVA to help Veterans. As concerns of mismanagement and deception within the Department of Veterans Affairs mount, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) entered into a partnership to protect VA staff who come forward with information about agency wrongdoing. As part of the effort, the organizations have launched a secure website, www.VAOversight.org, where VA employees can get in touch with POGO and IAVA. The effort combines IAVA’s deep knowledge of the VA system with POGO’s experience working with whistleblowers to expose federal wrongdoing. In an effort to stem the tide of negative publicity, the Inspector General of the VA has subpoenaed POGO in an attempt to find out who the whistleblowers are. POGO has refused to allow the government to learn the identity of the brave people who have come forth to alert the public of its misdoings. B) Received Journalism Awards. POGO won in June 2014 the Dateline Award for investigative reporting from its local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for its project on lax security at U.S. embassies overseas. It also won a business journalism award for its reporting on efforts by former employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission to influence regulations. C) Increased transparency around drone program. After POGO signed onto an amicus curiae brief in 2013 authored by EPIC in NY Times v. DOJ supporting release of the classified legal analysis justifying the controversial “targeted killing” drone program, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of increased transparency. The Court found that after “senior Government officials have assured the public” that the program is “lawful and that . . . advice establishes the legal boundaries,” it can no longer claim that the document is exempt from FOIA. D) Elected Chair of the Civil Society Sector of the USEITI. POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian was elected the chair of the Civil Society sector of the US EITI), a Federal Advisory Board composed of civil society, industry, and government members. In that role, POGO has helped organize outreach efforts to provide residents of communities directly impacted by extractive industries to have a voice in the crafting of transparency commitments that have been presented to the international EITI board by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The outreach is being conducting across the country from Alaska to New Orleans, involving impoverished communities including Native American tribes, Appalachia, the Gulf region, as well as Pennsylvania lands where hydraulic fracturing is being conducted. E) Closed Revolving Door Loophole at the SEC. Thanks to efforts by POGO, the SEC decided to close a loophole in the ethics rules that allowed some “senior” SEC personnel to lobby the agency immediately after leaving instead of staying on the sidelines for a year or more, as employees at other federal agencies must do. The change in the rules—revoking a longstanding exemption for some SEC officials—is a rare stand against the revolving door at an agency that has long blurred the lines between the regulators and the regulated. F) Removed Officer Unfit to Oversee Whistleblowers. A November 2013 POGO letter to Secretary Hagel asked for the removal of Major General Patton from his post as head of sexual assault prevention due to an investigation that found him guilty of violating the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. The letter resulted in news coverage of the issue and over 2,500 letters to the DoD from POGO supporters. A mere four weeks after POGO’s letter, the Pentagon announced Major General Patton’s plan to retire. A congressional staffer close to the issue told POGO that the impetus for Patton’s retirement was the unwelcome attention from POGO. G) POGO Recommendations on Contracting Reform featured in New York Times Editorial. In a very harsh critique of federal contracting rules, the New York Times editorial board cited POGO’s recommendations as a solution to the current practice of contracting out vast swaths of government work indefinitely — with little or no attempt to develop the needed technical and managerial expertise within the government or to enforce labor standards — which has created a bloated federal-contractor sector in which the public good is often subservient to profit. H) Strengthened Protections for Military Whistleblowers Signed into Law. Thanks to efforts by POGO, Congress has passed protections for military whistleblowers and victims of sexual assault against unfair retaliation which were signed into law by the President. This new law will help protect service members who make the difficult and brave decision to come forward and report sexual assault or other misconduct. POGO fought hard for passage of these reforms to upgrade the disgracefully broken whistleblower protections for our troops. I) Enforced Defense Contractor Rules Regarding Purchase of US-Made Products. POGO helped to expose that the Defense Department hasn’t been following the mandates for purchasing US-made products and instead was illegally supplying our troops with boots manufactured in China. POGO urged Congress to call for a DoD Inspector General (IG) audit into the DoD’s compliance with existing domestic preference laws, including the Buy American Act and the Berry Amendment. As a result, in August 2013, the DoD IG announced a preemptive audit, stating that it anticipated that legislation was forthcoming.
Geographic areas served: The United States
Programs: A. Open Government Investigations-Strengthening Government Oversight Functions B. National Security Investigations-Challenging Wasteful Defense Spending C. Wall Street Investigations-Strengthening Financial Oversight D. Contractor Accountability Investigations-Proposing Solutions E. Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative-Paying Their Fair Share F. Public Health Investigations- Improving Transparency of Programs
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I support POGO regularly because I believe the focus, ethics and dedication of the group aligns with my values of government accountability, transparency, efficiency. As a small federal government contracting business I am also aware of the waste of many contracting services and believe POGO has targeted several wasteful programs. The website is also a helpful clearinghouse of policy and investigative info.

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2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I support this organization because it keeps tabs on the federal bureaucracy. It researches issues brought to them by whistleblowers within and also investigates concerns brought to them from the public square. They are non-partisan which is important in this terribly partisan world.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

POGO does an effective job at promoting Transparency Accountability and Oversight within the federal government. At a time when a premium seems to be put on secrecy, POGO pushes for openess, which is fundamental for a democracy to remain vibrant.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not change a thing.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I find POGO to be a good 'bang for my buck'. I have supported POGO for five years now and am proud to do so. I think investigative journalism is in crises as newspapers (due to dwindling revenues) are closing down either their investigative journalism desks, or their publications entirely. Recently 'Newsweek' just announced it is suspending its print edition and even as large a cultural icon as Superman is quitting his fictional newspaper. I think POGO helps fill the investigative void left by the continued downfall of print media and provides in depth long term research into issues I find very reminiscent of '60 Minutes'. I like to think I am part of a community of people who care enough to make a difference, and we choose to do so through POGO.

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2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

In this ever changing world in which WE cannot trust our own government POGO stands out as one of the few protectors of YOUR rights. POGO watches out for how YOUR money is being squandered and misspent.
SUPPORT POGO. POGO SUPPORTS YOU.

Roger Weinreb

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

POGO focuses a spotlight on government projects that are questionable or just plain foolish. Transparency is essential for an informed electorate and for maintaining democracy.
POGO is an essential ingredient in the fabric of American life.
I heartily endorse POGO and recommend POGO to and for all Americans.

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A lot

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2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a long time subscriber to the Center for Defense Information, then becoming POGO. I'm a retired Navy Captain and carrier fighter pilot. I've seen enough of war with its terrible costs in lives and destruction. Now I actively support organizations like POGO that investigate and report on governmental policies and defense spending that are not in this country's best interests. POGO does this with a professionalism and integrity not found elsewhere.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

recruit more retired military who have seen the waste and corruption in our defense establishment and are personally opposed to US military involvement in the affairs of other countries for the sake of corporate interests.

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2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I started using POGO's 'contractors' misconduct' database in connection with my work for the U.S. Federal government. It was the only place that collected information on legal actions involving contractors doing business with the Federal government, that was in a usable form. I became a donor as POGO has continued to exceed my expectations in producing special reports and taking on thorny issues involving government projects and contractors.

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2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

Without the oversight and investigative work that POGO does, the public can never be sure of what is happening behind the scenes in government. They perform an invaluable service. Specifically, they exposed the back-door dealings associated with the recent Air Force decision to base the F-35A fighter bomber in the middle of a Vermont city.

We need much more of the work that POGO does. I highly recommend that people who want to know the truth, support POGO's work with a financial contribution.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase their staff so they can investigate and report on more government operations.

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2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

POGO walks its own talk and is very effective in its advocacy and frugal in its operations. As a donor and a former employee of POGO, I know first-hand that the money I give WILL be used to ensure a better, more transparent government. It does not accept government or corporate funding, ensuring no conflict of interest in their investigations. Maintaining nonpartisan connections and keeping their shrewd, scrutinizing eyes fair during their work are also very important to the folks at POGO. It is a truly great group that is improving our country every day.

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2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

POGO takes on issues others avoid, issues of great importance to our nation. We are proud to have been longterm supporters. In a time of too-often fruitless contention, POGO is trying to make things right.
Andy and Molly Barnes

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2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

These people do amazing, serious work on a shoestring budget. They are careful, strategic, and form partnerships that allow them to accomplish extarordinary things.

I have collaborated with them on two projects and they were always responsive and to the point.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Triple its staff.

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2014

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