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Project on Government Oversight

About POGO

Founded in 1981, POGO originally worked to expose outrageously overpriced military spending on items such as a $7,600 coffee maker and a $436 hammer. In 1990, after many successes reforming military spending, including a Pentagon spending freeze at the height of the Cold War, POGO decided to expand its mandate and investigate waste, fraud, and abuse throughout the federal government.

Throughout its history, POGO’s work has been applauded by Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, federal workers and whistleblowers, other nonprofits, and the media.

Our Mission

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

How POGO Works

  • IDENTIFIES systemic corruption, undue influence, or other misconduct impacting the federal government 
  • Launches independent INVESTIGATIONS into cases that meet POGO guidelines
  • Conducts research and works with whistleblowers and other insiders to INVESTIGATE TIPS and DOCUMENT FINDINGS
  • Recommends COMMON-SENSE SOLUTIONS for positive change
  • EDUCATES MEDIA AND THE PUBLIC of findings and EMPOWERS THE PUBLIC TO ACT
  • Works with government officials to IMPLEMENT SYSTEMIC POLICY IMPROVEMENTS
  • Strives for a more EFFECTIVE, ACCOUNTABLE, OPEN, AND ETHICAL federal government

How POGO Chooses Its Projects

The following are the guidelines by which POGO determines which projects we pursue. They do not present rigid criteria, but provide us with a consistent way to evaluate our priorities.

  • Capacity to make a unique contribution
  • Opening for positive systemic change in the federal government
  • Ability to broaden public awareness
  • Urgency for action
  • Availability of inside sources and/or documents

Our Methodology

While some groups are staffed with scientists or experts who focus on a single issue, POGO is an investigative organization with an expertise for working with sources inside the government and whistle-blowers to document evidence of corruption, waste, fraud, or abuse. Many of our nation’s most dedicated citizens work in and around the federal government. When they come across information revealing serious misconduct, they rightfully believe that they would risk losing their job if they came forward and "blew the whistle" on the wrongdoing they see. According to government surveys, one out of every 14 federal employees reported being retaliated against in a two-year period for making disclosures concerning health and safety dangers; unlawful behavior; and/or fraud, waste, and abuse.

POGO's investigators and journalists take leads and information from insiders and verify the information through investigations using the Freedom Of Information Act, interviews, and other fact-finding strategies. We then report on our findings to the media, Congress, and public interest groups through alerts, statements, and studies. At the same time, we protect the identity of our insider partners the way that reporters in the mainstream media do, ensuring that they are not punished for their patriotism.