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Project on Government Oversight

Avery Kleinman

Beth Daley Impact Fellow

akleinman@pogo.org |

Year Started at POGO: 2013

Avery Kleinman is POGO’s second Beth Daley Fellow. She writes and edits content for POGO’s blog, assists in the production of podcasts and videos, drafts press releases, and promotes POGO through the strategic use of social media. Avery moved to D.C. after graduating in 2013 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication where she studied audio and video production. She also spent a year at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Avery has interned at two NPR member stations: WNYC, where she produced segments for the daily interview program The Leonard Lopate Show, and WUNC, where she worked in the News department writing stories for the web and air. She has also contributed to various online publications, including Elle and College Candy, where she wrote a weekly news column summing up the week’s events for a college-aged audience. During her time at UNC, Avery worked as a marketing specialist for the UNC School of Government, which aids and trains local government officials.

The Beth Daley Impact Fund Fellowship was created to honor the legacy of Beth Daley, a longtime POGO employee who left a lasting imprint on the organization.

Podcast; Social Media, Internet Provides Opportunities, Challenges for Lawmakers

May 30, 2014

The Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.

EITI: The U.S. Effort to Increase Transparency in the Oil, Gas and Mining Industries

September 24, 2013

A federal advisory committee is working on a proposal that would allow the U.S. to implement international transparency standards for extractive industries that drill or mine on public lands.

Post Office Regulator Gives Voice to Public Interest

September 22, 2014

The chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission thinks there’s something special about her agency- and she’s hoping other federal regulators will think so too and follow its lead.

Report Finds Pentagon’s Real Estate Inventory Incomplete, Incorrect and Inconsistent

September 19, 2014

The Department of Defense has no idea what’s going on in more than half the properties it owns and it has no plans to figure that information out, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Charles Lewis’ New Book Looks at the Lies Your President Told You and Other Mistruths

August 21, 2014

Charles Lewis’ new book, 935 Lies—The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity, expands upon a Center for Public Integrity project that tracked the number of false statements that the President George W. Bush administration told in the two-year build up to the war in Iraq.

Investigative Reporter Dan Moldea Comes Clean in ‘Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer’

August 18, 2014

Investigative reporter Dan Moldea has had a decorated, if not controversial, career as a muckraker. His book, Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer, is one part memoir and one part history lesson.

DOE Labs Commission Holds First Meeting

August 15, 2014

A commission created by Congress last year to review the effectiveness of the nation’s 17 energy laboratories held its first meeting in mid-July.

NY Times: Time to Reassess Costly F-35 Program

July 29, 2014

A recent New York Times editorial critiqued the problem-plagued F-35 Joint Strike Fighter after all F-35 fighter jets were grounded because of an engine failure.

This is Terrifying: Why Isn’t Anyone Worried?

July 28, 2014

Sometimes, the federal government’s failures are so extreme that the situation becomes laughable. Last night, comedian John Oliver listed case after case of mismanagement in the U.S. nuclear program on his television show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Whistleblowers 'Hung Out to Dry'

July 24, 2014

NPR reporter David Welna profiled two of those whistleblowers, Bill Binney and Thomas Drake, for Morning Edition this week. He also spoke to POGO’s executive director about the complicated politics of whistleblower protections.

POGO's Director of Public Policy Moves to Head New Organization

July 11, 2014

Angela Canterbury, Director of Public Policy at the Project On Government Oversight since 2010, is moving on from our organization to a new role as Executive Director for Council for a Livable World, its Candidate Fund, and its sister think tank, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

VA Whistleblowers Recount Retaliation for Voicing Concerns

July 9, 2014

Four Veterans Affairs whistleblowers from across the country told a House committee they had experienced harsh retaliation from superiors after they voiced concerns about the effectiveness and quality of health care for veterans.

Thousands of Petitioners Tell Inspector General to Back Off Demand for POGO’s Whistleblower Records

July 8, 2014

More than 18,500 people have signed a petition asking the Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Veterans Affairs to drop its demand for the names of whistleblowers who have contacted the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). POGO delivered the petition signatures to the IG’s office today.

Union of Concerned Scientists Stands with POGO

June 27, 2014

The Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote a letter to Veterans Affairs Acting Inspector General this week urging him to reconsider his office’s demand for the Project On Government Oversight’s whistleblower records.

Senator’s Report on VA Hospitals Explores Widespread Problems

June 24, 2014

A new report based on a year-long investigation of the VA healthcare system suggests that problems go far beyond improper scheduling practices.

VA Audit Finds ‘Leadership Failure’

June 10, 2014

At least 57,000 veterans nationwide have experienced wait times of 90 days or more for their first medical appointments, according to an audit of 731 VA hospitals and clinics released Monday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

New Podcast: Social Media, Internet Provides Opportunities, Challenges for Lawmakers

May 30, 2014

The Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.

VA IG Confirms Phoenix Hospital Lied about Wait Times

May 28, 2014

An internal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) watchdog confirmed allegations today of falsified records at VA healthcare facilities, and in one case, discovered that veterans were waiting 91 days longer for care than the facility was reporting.

Why the Senate NDAA Markup Needs To Be Public

May 22, 2014

The Project On Government Oversight is working hard to bring transparency to the Senate’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes more than $600 billion in Pentagon spending and many of its wide-ranging policies for the coming year.

Petition Asks Senate Armed Services Committee to Open NDAA Mark-Up to the Public

May 19, 2014

A coalition of 56 organizations from across the political spectrum delivered a petition today to the Senate Armed Services Committee, asking that the committee open its deliberations for the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the public.

POGO, IAVA Urge VA Whistleblowers to Report Problems at VAOversight.org

May 15, 2014

To help hold the VA accountable and find solutions to the systemic problems, the Project On Government Oversight has partnered with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) to launch VAOversight.org.

Snowden, Poitras Awarded Truth-Telling Prize for Exposing Illegal NSA Surveillance

April 30, 2014

Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who exposed, arguably, the biggest government overreach into Americans’ privacy in the nation’s history, and Laura Poitras, the journalist who helped bring the story to the public, were honored Wednesday with the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling.

DATA Act Will Bring Greater Transparency to Federal Spending

April 29, 2014

Landmark legislation that would create much more transparency in how federal agencies are spending taxpayer dollars passed the House Monday and is headed to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

Camp Lejeune Supporters Tell Supreme Court to Stand by Toxic Pollution Victims

April 23, 2014

This morning, POGO was joined by like-minded supporters, including the Environmental Working Group, famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich and Ret. Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger to demand justice for the victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Erin Brockovich Discusses Camp Lejeune Victims on MSNBC

April 22, 2014

On Monday, environmental activist Erin Brockovich appeared on MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow’s show to discuss a Supreme Court hearing, which could have devastating effects on the military families and civilians who were poisoned by contaminated drinking water at North Carolina Marine base Camp Lejeune.

Long-Time Inspector General Stepping Down

April 11, 2014

After a decade investigating government waste and fraud under two presidents, Brian Miller, inspector general of the General Services Administration (GSA), announced this week that he will be retiring effective April 18.

Screening of Rumsfeld Documentary Sparks Discussion About Government Secrecy

March 24, 2014

The Unknown Known documentary brings Rumsfeld national security memos to the big screen.

U.S. Joins International Effort to Bring Transparency to Drilling, Mining Industries

March 19, 2014

An international organization working to bring greater transparency and accountability to industries that extract natural resources accepted the U.S. as a candidate for membership at a meeting of its board today in Oslo, Norway.

We're Giving Away a Kindle to Celebrate Sunshine Week!

March 14, 2014

To celebrate Sunshine Week, POGO will be giving away as a grand prize a 16 GB Kindle Fire 7" Tablet and two other people will win DVDs. Enter to win!

Obama Promises to Declassify CIA Torture Report

March 14, 2014

President Obama has pledged to declassify the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) headline-making report about the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) interrogation techniques.

Looking Forward to When FOIA is No Longer Needed

March 14, 2014

Open government activists, journalists and interested citizens gathered today at Washington, D.C.’s Newseum to celebrate the 16th annual National Freedom of Information Day, part of this year’s Sunshine Week.

House Unanimously Passes Freedom of Information Improvements

March 4, 2014

Last week, the House of Representatives passed important legislation that will go a long way towards reforming the Freedom of Information Act.

FDA Surveillance Threatened Whistleblowers

February 28, 2014

On Wednesday, POGO's Angela Canterbury testified in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee on the wrongful surveillance of whistleblowers at the FDA.

Here’s What 60 Minutes Didn’t Tell You About the F-35

February 19, 2014

The millions of viewers who tuned into 60 Minutes Sunday may have gotten the impression that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is ultimately necessary to maintain U.S. air superiority. Fortunately, a new video from Brave New Films tells the other side of the story.

USAID Ditches Plan to Buy Pretty Photos of Afghanistan

February 14, 2014

Less than a week after posting a contract proposal online for “timely, attractive visual images” of development efforts in Afghanistan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) canceled the request.

Rep. Issa Opens Investigation into Navy Fraud

February 5, 2014

In response to the string of embarrassing scandals, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), is opening an investigation into contracting fraud at the Navy.

Could Post Offices Become Public Banks?

February 3, 2014

Last week, the office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service released a report with an out-of-the-box suggestion that would produce $8.9 billion in new annual profits: Turning the Post Office into a bank, with savings accounts, loans and debit cards.

Anti-Transparency Provisions Removed From Farm Bill

January 31, 2014

In a victory for communities across the country, the current version of the farm bill, which the House of Representatives passed Wednesday, lacks earlier provisions that would have kept the public in the dark about certain farming operations.

Six House Members Seek to Oust Intelligence Director

January 28, 2014

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be removed because of untruthful statements he made before Congress concerning the intelligence community’s use of bulk data collection programs, six members of Congress said this week in a letter sent to President Obama.

Congressman Otis Pike Leaves Good Government Legacy

January 22, 2014

Former Rep. Otis G. Pike, who pushed to hold intelligence agencies accountable and battled wasteful government spending during his 18 years in Congress, passed away Monday. Mr. Pike was 92.

POGO Applauds Retirement of Head of DoD Sexual Assault Program

January 8, 2014

Shortly after the POGO called for the removal of the head of the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, the Department announced that Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton is retiring from the position and will be replaced in January 2014.

POGO Staffers Look Back on 2013, Ahead to New Year

December 23, 2013

Some of POGO’s brightest minds look back on what we achieved in 2013 and our top goals for the year to come.

Big Victory for Military Whistleblowers and Victims of Sexual Assault

December 20, 2013

Congress has passed strengthened protections for military whistleblowers and victims of sexual assault against unfair retaliation which are headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

‘Hedge Hogs’ Gives Inside Look at Wall Street’s Outrageous Behavior

December 16, 2013

In Hedge Hogs: The Cowboy Traders Behind Wall Street’s Largest Hedge Fund Disaster, Barbara Dreyfuss uses her investigative and analytic skills to give readers an insider look at the high-stakes, high-ego culture of Wall Street.

'Deep State' Delves Into Shadowy World of Government Secrecy

December 13, 2013

David Brown's new book, Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry, which he co-authors with Atlantic contributing editor Marc Ambinder, reveals previously unknown government secrets and analyzes how preventing leaks became an all-out war.

$500 Million Worth of Planes Collecting Dust

December 11, 2013

A collection of 16 airplanes paid for by the U.S. Air Force is collecting dust at the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan after being deemed nonfunctional due to consistent maintenance issues.

Senate Set to Strengthen Protections for Military Whistleblowers and Victims of Sexual Assault

November 20, 2013

Four Senators have introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2014 that would strengthen protections for military whistleblowers and victims of sexual assault.

POGO on Local News to Stop F-35s in Vermont

November 19, 2013

Project On Government Oversight Executive Director Danielle Brian appeared on Vermont local news this week to talk about why the Air Force’s F-35 fighter jet should not be based in the highly populated area of Burlington.

Pentagon-Funded Clinic Closes in Afghanistan

November 18, 2013

A hospital in Afghanistan that received a $750,000 investment from the Pentagon and hoped to be a model for quality, low-cost medical care is shutting down six years after it opened.

Big Firm Gets Small Business Contracts

November 15, 2013

The Washington Post released an investigation reporting that massive Virginia firm MicroTechnologies has been using a little-known contracting method to rake in millions of dollars of contracts designated for small businesses from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

McCain Fires Back at Navy Officials

November 14, 2013

Last week, Navy officials made their case to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the negative effects of sequestration. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) fired back at the officials, pointing out the high number of over-budget Navy projects.

Obama Nominates CFTC Chairman with Corporate Ties

November 13, 2013

Yesterday, President Obama nominated Timothy Massad, who currently works at the Treasury Department overseeing the government bailout, as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). But there is skepticism about Massad's priorities.

Navy Carrier Christening Belies Problems

November 12, 2013

The USS General Ford, the first of a new fleet of Navy aircraft carriers, was christened on Saturday. The $13-billion ship is scheduled to begin service in 2016, according to DefenseNews.com, but has suffered from substantial cost overruns and schedule delays.

How a Highly Secret DoD Agency Does Business

November 8, 2013

The Air Force’s “Big Safari” is “a secretive and shadowy organization that has been in existence for over 60 years.” Even though Big Safari hands out billions in contracts, it doesn't follow the rules like other agencies.

Pentagon Police Boss Misused Employees, Report Finds

November 5, 2013

A report released yesterday from the Defense Department Inspector General found the director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), Steven Calvery, has been misusing his position and workers.

Budget Crunch May Force Financial Regulator to Forgo Investigations

November 4, 2013

The Commodity Futures Trading Commissions is suffering from lack of resources, making proper industry oversight impossible, officials said last week.

Navy's LCS Experiences Maintenance Problems, Again

October 30, 2013

Stars and Stripes reports this morning that the USS Freedom, a first-in-class littoral combat ship (LCS), is docked for repairs for the second time in three months.

Head of Marine Corps Accused of Unfair Retaliation Against Whistleblower

October 29, 2013

A group of retired military officials is urging Congress to investigate a Marine Corps Commandant and his senior advisors who may have acted unlawfully following the release of a video showing troops urinating on corpses of Afghan insurgents.

Afghanistan Withdrawal Means No Oversight of U.S.-Funded Projects

October 28, 2013

The Washington Post discovered at least 15 taxpayer-funded reconstruction projects, worth over $1 billion combined, expected to continue past Obama’s projected Afghanistan withdrawal date.

New Database Tracks Revolving Door Between DoD and Defense Industry

October 25, 2013

A new database released by the Pentagon revealed that hundreds of senior defense officials requested ethics opinions as they moved from federal jobs to the private sector. A large majority, 84 percent, had a specific employer in mind, most of which were defense companies.

Dangers of Military Burn Pits Highly Disputed

October 24, 2013

Countless individuals who worked near burn-pits that the military and government contractors use to dispose of waste in Iraq and Afghanistan say the fumes caused serious illnesses, but so far, little research has been done to disprove or corroborate this theory.

Mistakes Hurt U.S. Nuke Security

October 23, 2013

Air Force officials have noticed an unfortunate trend of officers forgetting to shut the blast door that protects nuclear-tipped missiles from intruders. Officers have been officially reprimanded twice this year for leaving the door open.

JPMorgan Close to Record $13 Billion Settlement

October 22, 2013

JP Morgan Chase is close to settling a $13 billion deal with the government over the company’s mortgage practices leading up to the financial crisis. The proposed settlement would be the largest amount of damages ever paid by a financial firm.

Inconsistent Oversight at Nation's Nuclear Plants

October 21, 2013

The government agency in charge of regulating and overseeing nuclear plants, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), was found to have extremely inconsistent numbers of violations between the country’s four regions.

Lady Gaga Tickets for Classified Info Scandal Hits Navy

October 21, 2013

Multiple senior Navy officials have been arrested for running an overbilling scheme with a major Asian defense contractor in one of the biggest- and juiciest- cases of fraud to hit the U.S. Navy in years.

Shutdown Cost DoD $600 Million

October 18, 2013

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense (DoD) estimated that the government shutdown cost the Pentagon at least $600 million due to losses in productivity. That number may rise as long-term costs continue to reveal themselves.

Wall Street Erases Its Own Mistakes

October 17, 2013

An online database serves as a repository of Wall Street brokers’ bad behaviors, allowing the public to check for any red flags before investing, but a new report found that in the vast majority of cases, brokers who asked to have bad marks removed from their records were successful.

Boeing Overcharges Military, Again

October 16, 2013

A July audit obtained by Bloomberg News from the Pentagon’s Inspector General (IG) found that Boeing overcharged the military as much as $16.6 million as part of a $4.4 billion CH-47F Helicopter contract from 2008.

NY Fed Examiner Files Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

October 15, 2013

A senior examiner has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, claiming she was let go after refusing to keep quiet about serious conflicts of interest at Goldman Sachs.

60 Minutes Takes Down Disability Benefits

October 10, 2013

60 Minutes aired a controversial story on the Social Security disabilities benefits program, accusing it of massive fraud and corrupt mismanagement. Many were angered by the report, though, calling it unfairly one-sided.

Report Examines Obama and the Press

October 10, 2013

This morning, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a comprehensive report examining freedom of the press under the Obama administration.

Haiti Recovery Cloaked in Secrecy

October 9, 2013

Three years after the earthquake in Haiti, there remains a startling lack of transparency about where millions in U.S. recovery funds went and what exactly was accomplished.

ATF Whistleblower Blocked From Writing Tell-All

October 8, 2013

In 2011, John Dodson blew the whistle on "Fast and Furious," a gun operation gone wrong within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Two years later, the ATF is preventing him from publishing a book about the incident.

Senator Worries Over Shutdown’s ‘Closed Government’

October 7, 2013

On Saturday, Senator Partick Leahy (D-Vt.) took to the Senate floor to speak about two troubling aspects of the shutdown: the crippled judiciary and decreased government transparency.

Public's Right to Know Defense Contract Details Not "Essential"

October 4, 2013

The Pentagon has stopped announcing details of contract awards during the government shutdown.

Report Analyzes Government Secrecy

October 3, 2013

OpenTheGovernment.org has released its annual report detailing and reviewing government secrecy. Despite the Obama Administration’s purported commitment to transparency, reductions in secrecy have been slow.

Impact of Government Shutdown Continues to Grow

October 2, 2013

As the government shutdown continues, its impact goes far beyond the furloughed federal workers.

The Wait Begins: Read Up on the Shutdown

October 1, 2013

As you probably already know, Congress ignored the pleadings of the Project On Government Oversight along with almost everyone else in the U.S. and failed to meet yesterday’s midnight deadline to avoid the debilitating government shutdown.

Part Two of BP Oil Spill Trial Begins Today

September 30, 2013

The second part of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill trial begins today in New Orleans after a brief summer hiatus. The culpability of government contractors BP, Halliburton, and Transocean will be investigated during the trial.

The ATF Loses 2.1 Million Cartons of Cigarettes and Other Wasteful Mistakes

September 27, 2013

A 68-page audit of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) released yesterday revealed some startling examples of wasteful spending and face-palm worthy screw-ups, like when federal agents misplaced 2.1 million cartons of cigarettes, with a retail of more than $127 million. Finders-keepers for some lucky smoker out there.

Senate Questions IG Report on Secret Service Prostitution Scandal

September 26, 2013

Recent allegations suggest that the inspector general in charge of investigating the 2012 Secret Service prostitution incident intentionally withheld information from his public report and delayed the release of his findings until after the 2012 election.

The Supreme Court Has a Serious Case of Link Rot

September 24, 2013

According to a new study reported on by The New York Times, 49 percent of hyperlinks in Supreme Court decisions no longer work.

U.S. Seeks to Join International Transparency Initiative

September 24, 2013

In early 2014, the U.S. will submit its application to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a 39-country standard intended to increase the amount of information drilling and mining industries make available to the public.

New Declassification Board Member Has Long Classification Past

September 23, 2013

Last week, Kenneth L. Wainstein was quietly named to the Public Interest Declassification Board. Wainstein is not the first person you might think of with an interest in promoting government transparency. In fact, his work experience suggests a serious conflict of interest.

Navy Yard Shooter Was Security-Cleared Contractor

September 19, 2013

In the days since a gunman killed 12 people at the Navy Yard complex in Washington, D.C., many have been questioning why–despite warning signs like gun-related arrests and mental illness–Aaron Alexis was given secret-level clearance for his job with a subcontractor to Hewlett Packard.

Inspectors General Concerned About Budget Cuts and Staff Vacancies

September 18, 2013

A survey of inspectors general (IG) released yesterday discovered that they have been significantly affected by the sequester and other budget cuts.

The Over Budget and Behind Schedule F-35

September 17, 2013

In a Vanity Fair feature published yesterday, Adam Ciralsky investigates the F-35 aircraft, or Joint Strike Fighter, that was meant to streamline and update the military’s fleet of planes. When Ciralsky first saw the jet he said he “didn’t know whether to genuflect or spit

POGO Welcomes National Security Analyst Ethan Rosenkranz

September 16, 2013

The Project On Government Oversight is pleased to welcome a new member to our team: Ethan Rosenkranz, a well-traveled national security and defense expert. He’ll be working as POGO’s national security policy analyst.

Congress’s Complicated and Wasteful Oversight of DHS

September 16, 2013

In a New York Times op-ed published last week, the 9/11 commission’s co-chairs Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton argue that one of their most important proposals has still not been carried out: improved homeland security oversight.

Why Zero Wall Street CEOs Are in Jail

September 13, 2013

Five years after Lehman Brothers fell and the U.S. economy collapsed in on itself, not a single Wall Street C.E.O. is in jail. In fact, none of them have even faced criminal charges.

VA Makes Headway on Backlog with New Technology

September 12, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs is finally cutting down on its huge backlog of veterans’ benefits claims thanks to a new computer system meant to aid the compensation process.