POGO 2016 Impact and Selected AccomplishmentsTweet
1. Trained 386 Congressional Staffers on Conducting Better Oversight
Congressional oversight is essential to an effective and transparent government. POGO worked to strengthen Congress’s oversight capacity through a series of bipartisan training sessions for Congressional staffers. We worked with the Levin Center at Wayne Law School and the Lugar Center to host two intensive two-day boot camps about oversight investigations. Our other training program, the Congressional Oversight Initiative, conducted nine training sessions that taught 386 Congressional staffers how to hold oversight hearings.
2. Expanded Work by Merging with the Center for Effective Government
POGO merged with the Center for Effective Government, a 33-year-old nonprofit dedicated to creating a more open and accountable government. CEG pioneered new ways for websites to make government information more accessible to the public by creating www.fedspending.org, which helps users search through government spending data. POGO now maintains that resource.
3. Exposed Drug Industry Ties to the FDA and Patient Advocacy Groups
In a series of articles and reports, POGO investigated the close relationship between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the pharmaceutical industry and demonstrated how it harms the FDA’s oversight ability. Federal law requires the FDA to rely heavily on pharmaceutical industry fees to support its oversight of prescription drugs and gives the industry a powerful voice during the negotiations that determine how much the companies pay. As a result, pharmaceutical companies have incredible leverage in the drug approval process. Further, POGO found that most of the patient and consumer advocacy groups the FDA consulted during the negotiations also receive money from the industry. The investigation won POGO the Sigma Delta Chi Award, a prestigious journalism honor.
4. Fostered Bipartisan Support for Auditing the Pentagon
Encouraging bipartisan support for auditing the Pentagon has long been a POGO priority. In 2016, these efforts paid off, because for the first time both major parties included a Pentagon audit in their party platforms. Then in 2017, the Pentagon announced itsfirst annual audit would begin in 2018. This audit is necessary to help guarantee the Pentagon uses taxpayer money effectively and responsibly.
5. Pushed for Cancellation of Project That is 41 Years Behind Schedule, Ten Times Over Budget
For years, POGO has advocated cancelling the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX), a plant meant to convert weapons-grade plutonium to power plant fuel. Despite the plant’s delays and high costs powerful lobbying and regional interests helped it receive millions from taxpayers every year. POGO’s efforts have helped influence the Obama and Trump Administrations to work to end MOX.
6. Investigated the Government’s Faulty Improper Payment Procedures
To help the government save tax money, POGO published two reports on improper payments, one of the largest causes of lost revenue in the US. In our first report, we explained the improper payments problem and how it’s costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year. In our second, we provided recommendations on how to recover improper payments, such as better utilizing inspectors general.
7. Produced Groundbreaking Analysis on Critical Problems with the Most Expensive Weapons Program in History
The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN have featured our investigative reporting on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program’s numerous technical problems. Taxpayers have spent more on the F-35, over $100 billion, than on any other weapons program in history. Despite this, POGO’s reporting has made clear that it is unknown whether the F-35 can fulfill its proposed roles. POGO has advocated for stopping F-35 production until it can demonstrate it is capable of performing even the basic combat tasks originally used to sell the program to the American people.
1. Testimony of POGO's Mandy Smithberger on Oversight of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General's Military Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations
2. Testimony of Scott Amey about The Burdens of Overclassification and Government Secrecy