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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Project on Government Oversight, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Democracy, Government & Public Administration, Public Finance, Taxation & Monetary Policy

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

Community Stories

575 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Kelly Waser S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a bleeding-heart liberal who spends a lot of time rubbing elbows with die-hard conservatives. One thing that we have in common is that we abhor dishonesty and waste, and POGO does a phenomenal job of bringing BAD government to light and prompting improvements in a non-partisan manner.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It's hard to find information sources worth trusting. This is one.

Donor

Rating: 5

POGO is a great organization which keeps an eye on the government.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POGO is a great institution which provides information on what the government is doing with our money. They conduct very thorough investigations and provide thoughtful analysis of the cases they investigate.

Read more

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

For over a decade, I have utilized the POGO website and newsletter to keep myself informed about threats to transparency and accountability in government, as well as POGO-led initiatives to fight governmental corruption and misconduct. I appreciate POGO’s nonpartisan and evidence-based approach, and the integrity of the POGO staff. Based on POGO’s strong track record, I have great faith in the organization’s ability to foster accountability in government for years to come.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I look forward to my weekly POGO in review. It is very reassuring to know these hard working people are watching out for all of us every day. Where would we be without them?

Donor

Rating: 5

Pogo continues to impress us with their boundless research into government waste and boondoggles. They deserve all the financial help they can get.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a researcher of stories that appear questionable, my life has been turned upside down with the physical, mental and social harassment by unknown individuals who are either working with government agencies or back-channel groups planning to use the citizens of this country to promote their own agendas. If your agency really is able to stop the impending genocide of so many human lives, contact people who still have some ability to contact the outside world and share information. My days on the internet are numbered and I will be unable to stay involved. "StopTheCrime.net" is one of the best resources from which you can obtain the most current "documented" evidence of crimes against humanity and the environment. I would like to show my appreciation for your hard work and dedication to the cause, though, and know that without groups like yours, our lost rights and freedoms would have come much sooner. God bless all of your staff and reporters.

Eli E.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I’ve managed not for profits and am impressed with this one. Integrity is the word that comes to mind.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I appreciate always being able to count on POGO's commitment to truthful information and follow-through with full-out integrity.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Although I have read other articles by him, the recent expose that David Hilzenrath wrote regarding the Interior Department’s proposed rewriting of the federal drilling safety standards stands out as among his very best. In it he describes the backhanded methods used by the Department to procure the safety standards as written by the American Petroleum Industry such as charging for reading the proposed rule changes that should, but don’t, appear in the Federal Register.

It obviously took an inordinate amount of research for Mr. Hilzenrath to write such an article which I so much appreciated for its thoroughness and ease of reading. He, and POGO, deserve high acclaim for works such as this one to be produced

Sincerely,

Louis Mark, M.D.
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As I have watched, agape, the rising fortunes of the Pentagon and the private businesses that contract with it, I am endlessly grateful that The Project on Government Oversight exists.
After a week of learning about one or another egregious acts of chicanery by this unholy alliance, reading POGO's weekly report on Saturday always puts my mind to rest; I hope people of this country know what a valuable watchdog we have working on our behalf!
The talent that has amassed under POGO's banner is topnotch and incredibly even-handed, and we in this country can all sleep more soundly knowing that POGO is on the job.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a retired military veteran and have seen waste in the Department of Defense increase from misuse by active duty personnel to what it is today an institution that provides unearned income to DOD contractors supplying sub-quality products. I donate to POGO because they expose the corruption and provide valid information which I site when asking my Congressional members to review the waste and take steps which truly represent constituents desires. Of late their responses have been slow or none. The other use I put POGO reports is to determine my voting choices toward ending the abuse of our Constitution and restoration of citizens rights.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

the swamp needs to get cleaned. this type of agency helps to bring visibility and reform.

Kate T.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I want up to date, reliable and accurate information on any area of government my first “go to” is Project on Government Oversite.
POGO was recommended to me by our local Mayor several years ago and I have yet to find a site that covers so many areas of government in such an unbiased and well written manner.
Bravo!!

Roblyn C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I receive dozens of political emails per day and many end up unopened in the wastebasket. POGO is one source I always open and read top to bottom. This is a group that provides vital information in the fight against government waste and corruption on both sides of the aisle. Nonpartisan fact-based reporting at its finest. I love POGO and I depend on them to clear the murky water of partisan spin. From exposing federal contractor misconduct resulting in $18.7 billion in penalties, to the on-going trainings of congressional staff to conduct oversight investigations, POGO is making concrete, on-the-ground changes in our political system. POGO is also an advocate for whistleblowers to tell the truth about military abuses in war torn Afghanistan, and uncovering conflicts of interest at the FDA with the Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills which caused fatal blood clots. Go POGO!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Danielle and Rep Cummings maybe the only remaining individuals that continue the Legacy of John Dingell ( and his ilk such as Henry Waxman and Jack Brooks) that fought abuses of power in the corporate world as well as government on a bi-partisan basis. POGO uses its meager resources to uncover corruption that currently is rampant in and out of government. Like Dingell, they fight for people not power.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love POGO because they give us the truth about our government. All statements from politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, are political and mostly driven by their desire to get re-elected and support their sponsors. A typical example that I have been tracking for a long time is the F35 project which is a total disaster in terms of cost/benefit. It should have been canceled long ago, but congress keeps it going because every district benefits from the funding by the Military Industrial Complex. This is a total waste and has nothing to do with keeping America safe. The US Government is corrupt!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My inbox is swamped these days with politicians telling us how nasty the 'other side' is. It's all just obfuscation and spin and ends up giving us the crap and clueless behavior that leads to a seventeen trillion dollar deficit.

I look forward to POGO's posts because they tell me straight. I lookforward to seeing how they grow with our support.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

So far they have always been accurate in every detail in each of there reports I have desired too read. I think they are one of the most reliable news sources I have available to me.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm very pleased to see POGO out there keeping checks on our run away government and politicians that care for corporations, lobbyists, and special interest groups only. Keep up the good work POGO!