Director of Congressional Oversight Initiative
Year Started at POGO: 2014
Areas of Expertise: Congressional Oversight, Homeland Security, Intelligence
Justin Rood directs POGO's Congressional Oversight Initiative. The Initiative aims to improve and enhance Congress's ability to do effective oversight by providing information, advice, and other assistance.
Previously, Rood served under Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) on his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as director of investigations on Homeland Security matters.
Prior to that, he worked under Senator Coburn as senior investigator on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Minority Staff. There he led a 2012 investigation into domestic intelligence fusion centers, finding them "pools of ineptitude, waste, and civil liberties intrusions," in the words of The Washington Post's front-page coverage of the report.
Before joining Senator Coburn’s staff, Rood was an award-winning investigative producer and reporter with ABC News and other outlets. At ABC, Rood helped uncover the D.C. Madam scandal, which led to a number of resignations including that of Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias. In 2006, while at Talking Points Memo, Rood was part of a two-person reporting/blogging team that broke the story about the Bush administration dismissing seven U.S. Attorneys during a midterm purge. The story earned Talking Points Memo a Polk Award.
Rood is a 2015 non-resident fellow with the Yale Law School's Information Society Project.
A native Washingtonian, Rood is also co-founder of the Funk Parade, a celebration of local music, arts, and culture that brings the diverse communities of the city together.
A bipartisan letter from two Senators to the White House last month deserves greater attention—and praise. While it can seem that Congressional oversight is doomed to fail in this era of hyperpartisanship, the duo’s joint questions regarding clearance processes shows it only takes a little willingness and cooperation from both sides to ask the important questions and turn things around.
Trump reportedly told his agencies to ignore questions from Congressional Democrats. But is he any different from his predecessors?
One of Congress's responsibilities is to check and balance executive power. Stanford professor Martin Hellman argues in a recent article that it should act on that responsibility by examining the intelligence Trump used to justify bombing Syria.
The Project On Government Oversight calls on House Speaker Paul Ryan to demonstrate the leadership’s commitment to preserving the separation of powers that provide the checks and balances required by the Constitution. The basic principles of Congressional oversight are being forgotten as Congress is struggling to obtain answers about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and the possibility of coordination or collusion with the Trump campaign.
A bipartisan group of experts are pointing out a dirty secret of the legislative branch: its penchant for funding new agencies and programs far outpaces its investment in staff to oversee all of it.