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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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

POGO maintens me active and informed about hot topics on regard our democracy. It keeps the pressure on Congress and the administration to enact meaningful reforms, such as recent legislation to protect whistleblowers and crack down on human traffickers.

Rita11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Pogo is one of the most objective, non-partisan and detailed sites on the Web. If you want to know what is really going on in Government, this is one of the best sites to read. They have both courage and integrity.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What makes a government work? Checks and balances. Do we need them now? More and more every year. POGO is necessary and doing what it has set out to do extraordinarily well.

Joe_16

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was happy when I found POGO. They are tireless in exposing government fraud and waste. They are sorely needed. If the government won't or can't monitor itself, POGO is there. They dig deep into the issues and are not deterred. They perform an invaluable service.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Love POGO! As Every one knows, or is learning, if you want to know what's going on in Government, you have to Follow The Money! POGO gives great insights as to wher Your Tax Dollars are going, and if they are legitimate expenditures! They really dig out information 'we the people' need to know!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POGO does an excellent job of exposing the corruption that is so pervasive in our government, and they take action to resolve the malfeasance. this is one of the best charity's I support. They have helped taxpayers save millions upon millions of dollars in wasted expenditures.

Beverly11

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm impressed with POGO's unbiased, professional approach to finding out the truth. I advise anyone interested in what's really going on to include POGO in their reading material.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POGO does a great job of exposing corruption and waste in government.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Bringing forward the facts is vital when Lies are repeated over and over.POGO keeps the facts front and center.

1 Dana24

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

No one is out there doing what POGO is doing! They are highly respected in their field, do killer investigations, and generally rock everyone's socks off.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After retiring as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, I learned about POGO and offered to volunteer my services. I have been doing that now for more than 5 years and find that the work I am able to do for this organization is the most rewarding of my career. This organization is committed to good governance not just in word but in deed. There is unsurpassed camaraderie in working tirelessly to make the federal government a government that is of the people, for the people, and of the people that adheres with integrity to the rule of law. I wear my association with POGO as a badge of honor.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POGO provides an incredibly important and much needed role in securing an open government. If history has taught us nothing else, it has shown the importance of keeping governments in check and keeping the public apprised of government action. POGO fights hard for our rights to ensure that history--in this country--will not repeat past mistakes.

Janee G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot imagine a more important organization in this political climate in the US this decade. I rely on POGO for critical information, to do the investigative work to ensure fact-finding, disclosure, and hopefully eventual transparency in the dealings of government and the entities it supports.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As a former Federal Inspector General lead agent I regularly follow POGO and its activities and find their oversight and reporting to be very important and accurate. I have donated to POGO and will continue to follow and support POGO's actvities to keep Government pure.

Donor

Rating: 5

I support POGO because I've seen how things work in countries that don't have a POGO to keep the government and its contractors accountable. POGO keeps us true to ourselves and what we believe in, and it represents one of the essential foundations of American democracy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

POGO is an essential link to knowledge about what is happening within our government.

Bryan R.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There's no other organization doing the work that POGO does. It's an absolutely quintessential organization for our tax dollars and our democracy.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After finding POGO a little over 2 years ago, I highly recommend the organization as a trusted resource on government accountability and as a bull dog for the American public on fighting government waste and finding conflicts of interest in government contracts. They are nonpartisan and only think about how best to serve the public good. Second to none in investigative reporting and a standard bearer for whistleblowers everywhere. If you are looking for non-profit to donate money to for a worthwhile cause, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an organization that spends their money more wisely as they are one of the few to continue with a 4-Star Charity Navigator Rating! Sign up for their newsletter, friend them on Facebook, check with their site regularly and be a well-informed citizen.

Donor

Rating: 5

POGO works to investigate misuse of government funds in a nonpartisan manner: they follow the money to get to the bottom of the story. And then they take this story to Congress in the hopes that change will happen. A great organization working on a Sisyphean task. Keep up the great work!

Stephen11

Donor

Rating: 5

POGO has always impressed me. As a donor, I am extremely confident that my donations are used prudently (not only confirmed by my experience but also by their 4 Star Charity Navigator Rating). In addition, I am continuously blown away by this organization's discipline and management. They are not wishing washy; they stick to their core values. When I donate to POGO I know exactly what I am getting in return..,a non-partisan slant of the facts, good honest reporting, and a watchdog that ensures our government is more accountable, efficient, and transparent.