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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Project on Government Oversight, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, 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

548 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a newer donor to POGO. In the past few years, I have found their investigative reporting to be fair and balanced. Our family is pretty divided politically, but we have all found reports that POGO produced that helped to educate us on issues facing our government. Few organizations can serve liberals and conservatives - and do it well! Their central message that we can ALL do better really appeals to the patriots of our country who are not blinded by partisanship.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I " entired" my thoughts in a previous entry which I lost. Why I don't know. It is 02:30 here on the west coast & I am not going to chase it down. I will pick up the pen soon.




2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Centre for Defence Information at POGO is the most credible source on airpower issues. For any serious analyst of military aviation, POGO is what the Federalist Papers are for any serious student of the US Constitution: The most authoritative source of information. Their analysis is based exclusively on open-sources information. Pierre Sprey, Dan Grazier, Winslow Wheeler, Franklin C. Spinney, Thomas Christie and Col. Chet Richards (U.S. Air force, ret.), are one of the most knowledgeable and the most credible aircraft analysts in the world, with decades of experience, hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, and academic degrees under their belt. POGO are not biased and don’t have their own agenda. As for the Lockheed Martin's failed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, its defects are so numerous, so publicly available, and extremely expensive to the US taxpayer and the allies that defending it any longer is so ridiculous. One does not need classified information to know the vast majority of the F-35’s defects – the laws of physics cannot be classified etc.

The US and the allies deserve a far better single role air superiority fighter, close air support and interdictor strike bomber aeroplanes to defend their countries defence far better than the F-35.


Sincerely,

Another Guest

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What I like most about The Project on Government Oversight, Inc. (POGO) is that the work tirelessly against government corruption and foolish spending of tax dollars. They get results too! I always cheer when I read their newsletters of what they did or assessments made. Everyone wants an ethical, non-corrupt government. POGO does something about it. Hugs.

Daniel71

Donor

Rating: 5

Persistent, consistent, concise (with more detail when you want it) turning its non-partisan light on inefficiency, waste, ethics violations, and things citizens should know. No ideological drain government in a tub nor big is better, rather efficiency, transparency, accountability. Likely the best single source of quality research for good government. USA Citizen, Daniel in Chicago.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

POGO shines a spotlight on ways our government can be more of what it should, more effective and transparent. Would make Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, and a few others, proud.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POGO is about as good as it gets when it comes to providing specific, detailed, in-depth information that I can use to make an intelligent phone call to one of my Congresspersons, the White House, the head of a government agency or any other decision-maker. The POGO folks do their homework and they speak truth to power in ways that are urgently needed, especially in times like ours when foxes are being put in charge of the hen houses and it seems like just about everything regarding the public treasury and the public trust are being raffled off to special interests and industry insiders. POGO will tell you who's doing the dirty deeds and help you 'follow the money' to see who really benefits from a particular government program or expenditure. Highly recommended!

Donor

Rating: 5

POGO HAS BEEN VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. AS INDIVIDUALS OR AS A GROUP, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO STAY TRUE TO A SUBJECT AND KEEP A DEMOCRATIC PROCESS WITH OVERSIGHT. I WAS PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN AN ARTICLE THAT POGO DID OVER THE GENOCIDE IN RWANDA. IT WAS DONE IN A REMARKABLE, INTELLIGENT WAY, I WENT OVER THE INTRICATE SUBTITLES AND COORDINATES. IT WAS ALL THERE! THE JOB OF OVERSIGHT FOR THIS SUBJECT HAD BEEN ALL DONE.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I write yet again to tout the virtues of POGO, which has incorporated two nonprofits I formerly supported, Center for Defense Information and OMB Watch.

This kind of insightful, nonpartisan, rigorously fact-based analysis of federal programs is empowerment for citizen activism of the highest order.

As a veteran, I greatly value POGO's important role in helping less-skeptical folks see through fog that the members of the "Iron Triangle" (Congress, Pentagon, Lobbyists for Contractors) emit so heavily.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have relied on POGO for years for careful reports on the many ways in which folks try to milk the government, both from inside and outside. The organization is an essential, vigorous, non-partisan watchdog that keeps government honest (or at least tries to do so).

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

POGO is my go-to source for information regarding the diversion of federal funds into private pockets.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NO GROUP, COMMUNITY, STATE, NATION CAN SUSTAIN A DEMOCRATIC PROCESS FOR ANY LEVEL OF GOVERNANCE WITHOUT .... OVERSIGHT. POGO DOES AND HAS DONE A REMARKABLE, INTELLIGENT, BALANCED JOB OF OVERSIGHT FOR THIS NATION. INVALUABLE. THE WORDS, "A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY REQUIRES AN INFORMED CITIZENRY" ARE NOT EMPTY OF ESSENCE, AND POGO IS NEVER EMPTY OF IMPORTANT REPORTING.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

I need to have 2 ways out of the house in case of emergency

Timothy38

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Tim Strinden and I’m a huge fan of POGO, my favorite nonprofit. When you give to POGO, you get more bang for your buck than with almost any other public interest group in the country. POGO is a lean, mean, exposing machine, respected by democrats and republicans alike for its objectivity and effectiveness. In addition to exposing problems, they develop solutions and follow up to try to correct the problems. I've been a devoted follower since 1998 and am constantly amazed at the quantity and quality of the work they produce with a small staff and budget. They have exposed serious industry and regulatory waste and mismanagement in countless areas; including defense and wartime contracting, banking and finance, nuclear plants, inspector general functioning, and government resource management.

POGO has been a strong advocate for whistleblower protections and has helped many whistleblowers, including myself, to develop strategies for dealing with abuses at their workplaces. I have always found them to be gracious and generous with their limited time and resources, to help those who need it. I especially appreciate the time spent by Danielle Brian and Scott Amey on my issues, considering their many other important projects and responsibilities. I don't know how they do it all, but they do it extremely well.

A donation to POGO is one of the best ways to ensure that industry abuses and regulatory failures are exposed and corrected, which benefits all of us. We’re all fortunate that POGO exists, and is working hard for us every day. It’s too bad that more people don’t know about POGO and its accomplishments.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I rely on POGO to provide insight and news on important topics in government oversight.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POGO is the government watch-dog we all need, especially in light of the immense amount of corruption going on in every aspect of our government. With the incessant desire to 'out-source' everything government should be doing with dedicated, professional, career workers, there is an even GREATER need for POGO and its equivalent.
Thank you.
Keep following the money.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank goodness POGO is watching our government, digging into superficial reports to uncover waste, abuse, bias, and bringing these to the attention of the public - and the supervisory agencies, hopefully. We should have many more groups doing what they do.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

i am so thankful to have the information i receive from pogo as it helps me read between the lines and better understand why government operates as it does so i can better comprehend how it operates as it does.

it is ever the responsibility of the citizen participant in representative government to have such tools.

thank you.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Project on Government Oversight, Inc., has promulgated excellent reporting on abuses and injustices in the American system. They are an inspiration to me. This brave organization has made me astute and passionate in my support of viable concerns. Thank you and God bless all.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I began my subscription long ago to the Center for Defense Information, which is now part of POGO. I always appreciated it for incisive critique of our Defense Department spending, and that it's sources were largely former members of the millitary, and not from either extreme of hawks or doves. ( Disclosure: I tend toward the dovish end.) The spending that was identified as wasteful seemed very objective fact-based. This carries over to POGO reporting today.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm a gradate student majoring in International Relations. POGO's nonpartisan work focusing on the USG's opacity and fiscal waste are pivotal for concerned citizens like me. POGO is democracy from below. Bravo!!!

3 Mary451

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POGO reports on corporations when there are failures in whistle-blower functions. One of the most worrisome problems we have is corporate capture of the organs of government originally charged to protect the public. Corporations can choose to operate transparently. When they do not, I do not want to patronize those companies. I want to know what they tried to do. I appreciate that POGO tracks and posts it when corporations try to enact improper restrictions on their employees. So many other outlets ignore this. Some even punish their own employees who work to get the messages out. I want to support transparency. It is good for everybody--less stress and tension.