About POGO

POGO 2006 Accomplishments

The following are just a few examples of POGO's accomplishments in 2006:

IMPROVING CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT

In recent years, a variety of factors have led to the demise of vigorous Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch, including the declining experience of Congressional staff members and bitter partisanship.  In 2006, POGO launched a monthly training series aimed at teaching a new generation of Congressional staff the art and science of government oversight.  Veteran Capitol Hill and Executive Branch investigators and investigative journalists imparted their wisdom on such topics as working with whistleblowers and insiders, investigating companies, rooting out documents from government agencies, preparing for oversight hearings, and the rights of Congress to access classified information.  The training series was co-chaired by the Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Representative Christopher Shays (R-CT), and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ).


HOLDING GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS ACCOUNTABLE

Since 2000, just a short span of six years, government spending on contractors doubled from $200 billion to $400 billion. This increase in spending followed a decrease in taxpayer protections—a rollback that contractors had long been advocating.

Over this same period POGO has been a central player in the effort to inform the public about the government's failures to hold its contractors accountable.  In 2006 alone, POGO educated policymakers about contracting problems in such issue areas as the Iraq reconstruction and Hurricane Katrina response efforts.  POGO's 2006 report Federal Contracting: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina provided key insights to Congress about the need for reforms to prevent contracting debacles in future emergency response actions. Highlights from 2006 include:

PROTECTING NATIONAL SECURITY

The "Iron Triangle"—Congress, the Pentagon, and defense contractors—is stronger than ever before.  The resulting decisions line the pockets of special interests at the expense of legitimate national security needs.  In 2006, POGO continued to draw attention to numerous cases where national security was compromised by greed and incompetence. Highlights from 2006 include:


PROTECTING THE NATION'S NATURAL RESOURCES

Every year, a little-known agency inside the Department of Interior is responsible for collecting billions of dollars in fees, known as royalties, from multinational oil companies drilling on federal and Indian lands.  A series of investigations by POGO in the 1990s exposed that the agency, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), was falling down on the job of collecting royalties, and prompted almost $1 billion in increased collections. In 2006, POGO re-opened its investigations in this area.  We exposed that MMS was refusing to audit oil companies drilling on federal and Indian lands, despite the fact that conducting audits is the only way to ensure the companies pay fair value. With sky-rocketing gas and oil profits, it is concerning that royalties collected have plummeted by as much as $100 million annually.


CHALLENGING EXCESSIVE GOVERNMENT SECRECY

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the federal government has been on an unrestrained secrecy binge, putting millions of documents out of the public's reach.  Yet the documents the government is putting off limits frequently have less to do with keeping our nation secure and more to do with hiding corruption and mismanagement.  POGO has been working to get the government to switch its focus from keeping the secrets that protect it to keeping the secrets that protect us.  Highlights from 2006 include:


TRANSFORMING THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS COMPLEX

Although the Cold War ended almost twenty years ago, the federal government continues to sustain an obsolete set of facilities nationwide, which unnecessarily costs billions of dollars and which poses significant homeland security risks.  In recent years, POGO's investigations into the nuclear weapons complex have drawn much-needed public attention to the Department of Energy's failures to manage the complex and prompted dramatic reforms nationwide.  Highlights from 2006 include: