In awarding federal grants, it is standard practice for a federal agency to require that a competitive grant proposal go through a peer review process in order to evaluate the merit of the application. POGO has found that multiple FY2007 Byrne Discretionary Grants appear to have been awarded outside of the peer review process, and believes there are even questions of patronage and conflicts of interest by DOJ appointees. Documents obtained by POGO indicate that DOJ awarded 13 grants without evaluating them through the peer review process, and at least two of those grants appear to involve conflicts of interest between the grantee and DOJ appointees in the offices awarding those grants.
Following news that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s Office of Inspector General (OIG) plans to be more directly involved in investigating the Secret Service prostitution scandal, some have concluded that Members of Congress--several of whom did not trust the Secret Service to investigate itself--will now be satisfied that the inquiry will be independent and credible. But if recent history is any guide, the fact that the DHS OIG lacks permanent leadership may cause some lawmakers to question whether that office is fit to handle such a politically explosive investigation, especially if the inquiry drags on or does not turn up evidence of misconduct by high-level officials.
As of today, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General (IG) has been vacant for exactly one year. The position became vacant when Richard Skinner retired after 42 years of service in the federal government.
Over the past few years, the Justice Department has dramatically ramped up its enforcement of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), according to new records obtained by POGO under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The records provide hard evidence in support of what many attorneys had suspected.