About POGO

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David S. Hilzenrath


dhilzenrath@pogo.org |

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Year Started at POGO: 2012

David Hilzenrath joined POGO as editor-in-chief in June 2012.  Before that, he was a journalist for The Washington Post, where he wrote extensively about the intersection of business and government.

Much of Mr. Hilzenrath’s career has been devoted to investigative reporting.  At The Post, he reported on the financial crisis, the regulation of the financial industry, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the policing of Wall Street.  He has probed subjects as diverse as the finances of presidential candidates, offshore banking and money-laundering, executive compensation, the Deepwater Horizon disaster, federal tax policy, and accounting fraud.  He has written about corporate scandals from Enron and WorldCom to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bernie Madoff, and MF Global.   His reporting on systemic conflicts of interest in the auditing of Corporate America helped provide a roadmap for reform.  Mr. Hilzenrath scrutinized efforts to overhaul health care under presidents Obama and Clinton and has reported in depth on the business-driven transformation of the health care system.

He was a contributing author of Landmark: The Inside Story of America’s New Health Care Law and What It Means for Us All (Public Affairs, 2010).  His honors include the Morton Mintz Award for Investigative Reporting and the Bill Pryor Memorial Grand Prize for Writing.  He has appeared on radio and television, including NPR, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and C-SPAN.

Mr. Hilzenrath studied at the University of Michigan through the program now known as the Knight-Wallace Fellowship.  He is an honors graduate of Harvard College, where he majored in government.

System Failure

October 6, 2014

Army veteran Steven P. Massong's nightmare began after a routine procedure at a VA hospital in 2005 led to the amputations of his right foot and scrotum. In the nine years since, he has been lost in a bureaucratic quagmire trying to get the disability benefits he seeks.

State Department Gives Misleading Testimony to Senate

September 9, 2013

Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy delivered inaccurate and misleading testimony to a Senate panel in July when he claimed that the contractor now responsible for protecting the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, rebuffed two direct attacks on the embassy compound.

Unreleased: Probe Finds CIA Honcho Disclosed Top Secret Info to Hollywood

June 4, 2013

The Defense Department Inspector General’s office has been sitting on a report that former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta disclosed “TOP SECRET” information and other sensitive details two years ago at an event attended by a “Hollywood executive” working on the movie Zero Dark Thirty.

Drug Problems: Duke Reassessing Data From Trial Led By FDA Nominee

November 20, 2015

The Duke Clinical Research Institute is reassessing data from a clinical trial of Xarelto that FDA nominee Robert Califf helped lead.

Drug Problems: Nominee to Head FDA Led Clinical Trial FDA Faulted

November 12, 2015

Robert Califf, President Obama’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration, helped lead a clinical trial that was sharply criticized by FDA reviewers and outside advisors.

FDA Approves Antidote for Pradaxa, Calls It “Necessary”

October 20, 2015

Five years after approving the blood thinner Pradaxa without an antidote, the FDA approved an antidote and said it was “medically necessary” when bleeding “can’t be controlled."

State Department Watchdog Didn’t Bark About Clinton Email

March 20, 2015

The State Department Inspector General gathered data a year ago showing that few Department emails were being preserved as official records, but the internal watchdog did not release the report until Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account became a top story.

Justice Department Lawyers Who Engage in Misconduct Sometimes Escape Discipline, Watchdog Finds

December 12, 2014

The Government Accountability Office has found that Department of Justice lawyers who engage in misconduct sometimes escape discipline.

Audit Faults State Dept’s Kabul Embassy Security Management

November 17, 2014

An audit by the State Department’s Inspector General found lapses in the Department’s oversight of a contract with Aegis Defense Services for protection of the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Inspector General’s Role in Secret Service Scandal has Familiar Ring

October 9, 2014

Allegations that an inspector general probe into the Secret Service prostitution scandal was subverted and its findings suppressed to protect the Obama Administration from political fallout have a ring of déjà vu.

One Man's Nightmarish Journey Through the Troubled VA

October 6, 2014

Army veteran Steven P. Massong's nightmare began after a routine procedure at a VA hospital in 2005 led to the amputations of his right foot and scrotum. In the nine years since, he has been lost in a bureaucratic quagmire trying to get the disability benefits he seeks.

At VA, Complaint Couched in Humor Was a Punishable Offense

July 30, 2014

VA employee and whistleblower Stuart Kallio was reprimanded for sending a satirical email in which he imagined his life as a “Homeless Supervisor” after his cubicle was given to someone else.

Help Us Investigate Prosecutorial Misconduct

March 31, 2014

POGO is continuing to examine how the Justice Department handles allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. If you can shed light on the subject, please email us at investigations@pogo.org, and please put “OPR” in the subject line.

State Dept. Corrects Testimony POGO Exposed as Misleading

September 20, 2013

A week after the Project On Government Oversight exposed recent State Department testimony on embassy security as inaccurate and misleading, the Department has written a letter to members of the U.S. Senate acknowledging that its testimony was wrong and correcting the record.

Questions for Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy

September 18, 2013

At a House hearing Wednesday, Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy faced intense questioning about Benghazi. There are also questions Kennedy could answer about the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, where former guards say security problems could lead to tragedy.

Senators Ask State Department To Respond to POGO Report on Embassy Security

September 12, 2013

Leaders of a Senate panel are asking the State Department to explain how its assurances about security at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan square with a report this week by the Project On Government Oversight documenting problems.

Review Finds Security Problems at Diplomatic Posts

July 18, 2013

An audit by the State Department Inspector General found deficient security at overseas posts under high threat.

Lawmaker Calls on Pentagon to Release Report on Zero Dark Thirty Probe

June 6, 2013

Rep. Peter King wants the Pentagon to release the results of an investigation he requested almost two years ago into possible leaks of classified information to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty, the movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

As Veterans Wait for Care, VA Allegedly Papers Over Delays

March 14, 2013

By altering dates logged, Department of Veterans Affairs employees minimize reported wait times for veterans' medical appointments, the GAO says.

VA Suppressed Data on Gulf War Vets' Health Problems, Former Official Says

March 13, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs has suppressed evidence that Gulf War veterans’ health problems could be linked to their exposure to toxic substances during the 1991 war, a former VA epidemiologist alleges.

Lawsuit: Kabul Embassy Guards Told to Lie About Long Hours

January 23, 2013

Guards responsible for protecting the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, have often worked 14 to 18 hours per day for six or seven days per week and have been directed to file false time records to avoid revealing that they have exceeded the standard 72-hour workweek, a lawsuit alleges.

November 16, 2015

Questions for President Obama’s Nominee to lead the F.D.A.

The New York Times | By Editorial

October 15, 2015

FDA was ‘lax’ and kowtowed to drugmaker in review of controversial blood thinner, watchdog says

The Washington Post | Federal Eye | By Lisa Rein