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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

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

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

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

POGO does a lot of good work that the mainstream media misses, has little interest in or distorts.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

truly outstanding group. the position of whistleblowers has not been easy in Obama administration. POGO continues to bring issues and unknown issues to the public while protecting those who have brought them to POGO. POGO continues to be the only place where whistleblowers can go to have the issues which concern them brought to the public while they receive the best protection>

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

"Accountability" is one of the most overused and under-implemented concepts inside our democratic government. "Accountability" does not come without transparency and real and untainted information. POGO does more than any organization I know to assure American citizens that our government IS accountable. Thank you, POGO, for your important contributions and efforts to making ours a more genuine democracy. I salute you!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

One of the few 501(c)(3) nongovernmental organizations working to make government accountable to the American citizen and taxpayer

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

POGO is an organization that actually helps and is effective. Many non-profits, even those that mean well, get little accomplished. I head a non-profit myself and know POGO is one of the best.

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2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

POGO is an important tool in the almost futile attempt to allow the public to know what the government is doing. It is unfortunate that we need to have this type of organization but we do. I am very happy to support it and its goals.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

POGO merits tremendous admiration and support as the preeminent government "watchdog" today. I hope readers find my opinion credible on the basis of my considerable personal experience as a government "watchdog," as the author of The Art of the Watchdog (with co-author David Eichenthal, SUNY Press 2016), and as a professor of public management teaching investigative techniques at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the City University of New York.

3 Franklin K.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The truth is very important. This organization takes the time to point out issues in a concise manor that everyone can understand.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

POGO is often most successful at revealing government fraud, waste, and incompetence because of its independence. Inspectors General and the GAO (where I worked) do a good job much of the time but POGO is amazing in its performance of government oversight.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

POGO is an exemplary public-service group that speaks truth to power -- then holds it accountable through practical revelations about the inner workings of government. When analyzing energy and science issues at GAO, I found myself many times crossing POGO's path, as both organizations are dedicated to exposing waste, fraud, and the abuse of power. POGO's methods are more direct that GAOs, and in many ways more effective for their timely revelations.

As a journalist covering the federal government, and as a Senior Analyst at GAO, I have spent decades investigating and exposing foolish and wasteful government programs. POGO is unique in its ability to be an independent and rigorous watchdog for the public interest.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Project On Government Oversight (POGO) does great work in trying to make our government accountable in many way and why I support it. I strongly recommend POGO to anyone who would like to see our government be held accountable for its actions. Robert E. Drabant, Major, USAF Retired

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization holds government institutions accountable regardless of political agendas.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

POGO has provided great information, well researched articles and data to back their position on most all matters of federal spending and our national assets from a corporate demise.. There are few that can provide this invaluable insight and their actions to improve our society.
Thank you to the Staff of POGO and all who support this work.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We need more like this. Thanks for such great project.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

POGO's work in government oversight is indispensable.

Randy Fertel, PhD
Co-founder, The Ridenhour Prizes for Courageous Truthtelling

Lois20

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

POGO is a credible and therefore important nonprofit. They continue to perform exemplary public service. If it weren't for POGO, the public would sorely lack resources to turn to for accurate information, and government transparency.

Lem G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an Army veteran of Vietnam and Desert Storm, I could not help but be exposed to the waste and madness of how the Pentagon operates in a combat zone. POGO allowed me to research what I truly needed to learn about the "Iron Triangle" of the DoD, Congress & Congress for the book I am writing.
I consider them THE source organization when I want to get the straight facts on contractor fraud, malfeasance, over runs, flag officer gaffes, cost over runs, and bad book keeping from the "Pirates of the Potomac".

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I am a retired government official and scientist. POGO has shown a willingness and unique ability to find and expose conflicts of interest, waste, and outright fraud in all branches of government.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As a government whistleblower whose scientific career was nearly destroyed when I disclosed incompetence and fraud at the National Institutes of health, I know the important protections POGO provides to whistleblowers like me.

Jay_23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There is a reason why whistleblowers and news reporters flock to POGO. It is because of its long track record of uncovering fraud and abuse throughout the U.S. government (including abroad). Although physically located inside the beltway, POGO has never come down (and never will) with the beltway disease of compromising in order to get coveted access to the higher levels of government. POGO keeps its integrity. Perhaps my greatest compliment is to observe that I have seen with my own eyes how government officials and contractors fear POGO.