Year Started At POGO: 2007
Areas of Expertise: Federal Contractor Misconduct, Contractor Accountability, Government Privatization
Neil Gordon joined POGO in 2007. His chief responsibility is managing POGO’s groundbreaking Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. He also works with the media, answers public queries, submits comments to the federal agencies on proposed regulations, and blogs on contracting issues and other public policy matters. Prior to joining POGO, Gordon was a researcher and writer at the Center for Public Integrity, working on the Center’s investigations of prosecutors, U.S. contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, state legislators and lobbyists, and international corruption. From 1995 to 2000, Gordon practiced law in Maryland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Delaware and a law degree from the University of Baltimore. He has written for Nieman Watchdog, Washington Business Journal, and IRE Journal and has been quoted in Bloomberg Government, Federal Times, and FoxNews.com.
- Instrumental in the development of POGO’s revamped Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.
POGO has a longstanding interest in the intersection of federal contracting and ethics—namely, ensuring that the same conflict of interest rules that apply to federal employees apply to contractor employees.
The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has presented its findings on the April 2011 explosion and fire at the Waikele storage bunker in Hawaii that killed five people handling illegal fireworks seized by federal authorities. The five men were performing this work for a Treasury Department subcontractor, Donaldson Enterprises, Inc.
POGO supports contractor compliance program and integrity reporting, but the proposed rule’s mandatory reporting requirement must be clarified and expanded to require contractors to disclose a broader array of unethical conduct.
POGO was pleased to see the General Services Administration step in and buy the rights to the federal government’s two most important spending transparency databases: the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation and USASpending.gov.
As the Social Security Administration readies its strategic plan for the next decade, there is growing concern over the agency's shift toward Web-based customer service and its contract with credit reporting giant Experian.
The Office of Personnel Management bids adieu to background check contractor USIS.
A new report discusses how federal contracting practices can effect positive change when it comes to human rights throughout the world.
As of October 1, you will no longer be able to track the billions of dollars spent on the economic stimulus and the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.
Last week, the public learned that DynCorp International is being sued for defrauding the Army on a narco-terrorism contract, the same contract on which a Pentagon audit found over $100 million in improper charges.
According to the GAO, the federal agencies are getting better at reporting contractor past performance data but are still falling short of White House goals.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order Thursday that struck a major blow against federal contractors who repeatedly violate wage, safety, and discrimination laws.
More than 80,000 federal defense workers and contractor employees in sensitive positions owe more than $730 million in unpaid federal taxes, according to a new GAO report.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found unsafe and illegal solid waste disposal practices at Shindand Airbase.
A new research paper and interactive website produced by the Brookings Institution provide a unique insight into federal government failures since 2001.
The recent revelation of a Blackwater employee's death threat to a State Department official is further evidence of the government's subservience to contractors.
For a blatant example of the Obama Administration's ludicrous secrecy practices, look no further than this 2013 Pentagon audit of a program to supply aircraft to Afghanistan.
An audit by the Social Security Administration Inspector General found several agency contractor employees continued to have access to its data systems long after they had left the job.
Three senators are demanding answers from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel about a long-running legal battle between KBR and National Guardsmen who claim the company exposed them to toxic chemicals in Iraq.
A new report by the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) paints a troubling picture of the Pentagon’s decades-long relationship with one of its top contractors, United Technologies. At best, it indicates some fine-tuning is needed in defense contract management and auditing practices. At worst, it suggests DoD has a less-than-arm’s-length relationship with one of its key providers of goods and services.
Two prominent federal vendors may be concealing misconduct by violating their employees' whistleblower rights.
The Project On Government Oversight submitted a public comment Monday supporting a proposed change in the regulation of federal contractor personal conflicts of interest. The change will revise the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to extend the guidelines on contractor employee conflicts of interest.
The Pentagon's Inspector General is using the "for official use only" information label to bury findings of fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement in defense programs.
POGO obtained a Pentagon Inspector General report not released to the public that found Northrop Grumman and DynCorp International overcharged the government more than $91 million on a counter-terrorism contract, including $3 million for labor hours that exceeded 24 hours in a day.
After several years of steady decline, a new report finds that the rate of competition in defense contracting stayed the same in the last year. This might be a sign that acquisition reform at the Pentagon is succeeding.
A top recipient of USAID Afghanistan reconstruction funding is the Louis Berger Group, one of the infamous "Flagrant Five" Wartime Contracting Commissioner Charles Tiefer called out for poor performance and questionable ethics.
Can the three largest recipients of State Department aid to Afghanistan—DynCorp, PAE, and Civilian Police International—be trusted with billions of taxpayer dollars?
Computer Sciences Corporation agreed to pay the federal government $1.1 million to settle allegations of defrauding the U.S. Army by submitting false resumes to qualify its employees for higher paying positions, according to a U.S. attorney.
Congress is considering bills that would require the Internal Revenue Service to hire contractors to collect delinquent federal taxes. Unfortunately, the poor track record of private debt collection programs isn't dissuading some lawmakers.
A federal judge sharply criticized the State Department's decision to grant legal immunity to Blackwater guards involved in a 2007 shooting in Iraq. That decision nearly doomed the manslaughter case against the guards, which goes to trial in June.
The $100 billion U.S. reconstruction effort in Afghanistan was on the hot seat on Capitol Hill.
According to a new GAO report, the government needs to improve oversight of the billions spent each year for goods and services on an urgency basis.
The Afghanistan reconstruction watchdog has launched a formal inquiry into an ill-fated U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract to build waste incinerators at Forward Operating Base Sharana.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is about to put contractors in charge of overseeing the billions of dollars invested in Afghanistan reconstruction. Is this a good idea?
Federal agencies are increasingly relying on suspension and debarment to protect taxpayers from fraud, waste and abuse, according to a new report.
Thursday's Senate subcommittee hearing on the government's contractor performance and integrity databases left the public with many unanswered questions, but Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is totally on the case.
Tomorrow, the public will finally get the lowdown on the government's FAPIIS database when the Senate convenes a hearing on contractor performance information.
Despite mounting legal troubles, background-check contractor USIS continues raking in millions of dollars in federal contracts.
Military commanders in Afghanistan are waging their most aggressive campaign against the office charged with overseeing the $100 billion being spent on Afghanistan's reconstruction.
The Justice Department filed another False Claims Act lawsuit against contractor KBR. This time, KBR is alleged to have engaged in a massive corruption scheme in Iraq that included shipping food in trucks that had previously contained human remains.
The Justice Department alleges contractor U.S. Investigations Services submitted more than 600,000 falsified security clearance background investigations over four and a half years and defrauded taxpayers of millions of dollars.
The federal False Claims Act -- still a potent anti-fraud weapon after 150 years.
2013 ended on a sour note for Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility, which has been under indictment and barred from federal contracting since 2009.
Amid the holiday season craziness, The Washington Post published an in-depth account of how a subsidiary of Canadian IT giant CGI Group won the contract to lead the design and testing of the HealthCare.gov website.
For the third time this year, the Afghanistan reconstruction watchdog found wasteful, possibly life-threatening, waste incineration practices on U.S. bases in Afghanistan.
New reports by a watchdog group and Congress show why Scrooge-like companies should not be doing business with the federal government.
Congressional overseers of U.S. intelligence programs received $3.7 million in campaign contributions from the largest intelligence contractors, according to a nonprofit research organization.
The Pentagon announced last week that it will no longer buy helicopters from Rosoboronexport, a Russian state-owned arms company with a troubling client list.
The Afghanistan reconstruction watchdog found that contractors supporting the insurgency continue to receive U.S. funds and access to U.S. facilities.
A federal grand jury re-indicted four former Blackwater guards involved in a shooting in Baghdad in September 2007.
A new report shows how the national news media hid its commentators' defense industry ties during the debate over whether the U.S. should attack Syria.
The American Small Business League (ASBL) found that 235 of the Fortune 500 companies received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal small business contracts in 2012 and 2013.
A Pentagon Inspector General report released this week finds major flaws in a security system used to regulate contractor access to Navy facilities.
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released its final report this week, detailing an impressive list of accomplishments over the past decade.
A report by the Department of Energy Inspector General found the Department needs to improve its policies and procedures for ensuring that contracts are awarded only to responsible vendors.
For the second time in two months, a subcontractor has sued DynCorp International seeking money it claims DynCorp owes for Afghanistan reconsruction work.
The latest quarterly report from the Afghanistan reconstruction watchdog found serious shortcomings in contract oversight, including “a pervasive lack of accountability.”
Halliburton pleaded guilty to destroying evidence pertaining to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, which killed 11 men and triggered a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. POGO has obtained the criminal information outlining the government’s allegations and the plea agreement.
A new watchdog report found that a teacher training facility in Afghanistan is in precarious shape, thanks to two contractors who were allowed to walk away from the job by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Afghanistan reconstruction watchdog found two egregious examples of waste at Camp Leatherneck.
POGO has obtained the compelling reason determinations issued by the Defense Logistics Agency in 2009 and 2010 to waive the suspension of indicted logistics company Agility and extend its contracts to support the military in the Middle East.
A recent Pentagon Inspector General report found that Boeing overcharged the military for spare parts—again.
An Ohio federal court ordered defense contractor United Technologies Corporation to pay the government hundreds of millions of dollars in damages in an Air Force contract fraud lawsuit filed in 1999.
A Turkish construction company has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against DynCorp International, seeking nearly $6 million in overdue payments and damages for construction work in Afghanistan, including a project for which the government failed to hold DynCorp accountable.
The revelation that it was Edward Snowden, an employee of National Security Agency contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, who blew the whistle on the NSA’s surveillance programs has thrust Booz Allen Hamilton into the spotlight. Unfortunately, their track record of business ethics and integrity has largely escaped scrutiny.
"Dirty Wars," a forthcoming documentary based on the work of investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, provides a glimpse into the shadowy world of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), an elite U.S. combat unit waging a covert war around the world.
The Government Accountability Office has released its third and final review of Department of Defense service contract inventories.
U.S. defense contractor QinetiQ North America got picked clean by Chinese hackers, but the government still awards the company contracts.
For the fourth time since 2007, Congress will try to pass a measure that will prevent companies and individuals who owe taxes from being awarded federal contracts.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that the government wasted $5 million on an unused solid waste incineration system on Forward Operating Base Salerno. The base continues to dispose of its solid waste in dangerous open-air burn pits.
Although the Department of Defense has recently been making a concerted effort to increase competition in its acquisition of goods and services, a new GAO report finds that competition in defense contracting has been in steady decline over the last 5 years.
Department of Energy contractor Fluor paid $1.1 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit accusing the company of violating the False Claims Act by improperly using federal funds for lobbying.
The Army Corps of Engineers stands by its decision to allow DynCorp International to walk away from a botched construction job in Afghanistan.
In a new report, the Department of Energy Office of Inspector General found that the agency had improperly awarded salary increases for several executive employees of the contractor overseeing cleanup at the Oak Ridge nuclear facility.
POGO updates its Federal Contractor Misconduct Database with 12 new contractors and a new top 100 federal contractor ranking.
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), which sunsets this month, said the government has no idea how billions of reconstruction dollars were spent over the past decade, and estimates that at least $8 billion has been lost to fraud, waste, and abuse.
Last week's surprising conclusion of the firearms prosecution of the company formerly known as Blackwater has many wondering if federal contractors have become too powerful.
Representative Issa's proposal to overhaul the suspension and debarment system generates mixed reactions.
While the government considers whether to grant SIGAR suspension and debarment powers, dozens of companies and individuals suspected of aiding terrorists in Afghanistan remain eligible to receive U.S. taxpayer money.
New Inspector General report finds flaws in FEMA procedures to recover improper disaster relief payments.
A company blamed this week for a fatal fireworks explosion is still eligible to receive federal contracts.
Don't like competing for contracts? Head to the Department of Defense, which routinely awards contracts where it solicited or received only one bid.
Federal prosecutors charged former FEMA official Timothy Cannon with a felony conflict of interest charge for helping The Gallup Organization win contracts while seeking a job with the company.
POGO obtained internal Pentagon memos explaining why the Army repeatedly waived the suspension of a contractor accused of defrauding the government.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has opened an investigation into why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowed DynCorp International to walk away from a bungled construction job.
The federal government has recovered another $5 billion of taxpayer money that otherwise would have been lost to fraud.
Despite having several other companies from which it can purchase fuel, whichever company the Pentagon chooses to replace BP with will likely pose as great a responsibility risk.
The government last week filed a complaint in a whistleblower lawsuit accusing The Gallup Organization of overbilling the federal government by millions of dollars and violating federal ethics laws.
The EPA’s suspension of BP sends a message to all federal contractors, large and small, that they will be held accountable for their misconduct.
Despite a seemingly endless parade of legal troubles for KBR involving its Iraq logistics support work, the company remains a favored federal contractor.
The Department of Justice joined a False Claims Act lawsuit accusing large contractor Fluor Corporation of illegal lobbying.
The federal government joined a whistleblower lawsuit alleging private security contractor Triple Canopy used hundreds of foreign nationals without proper firearms training to guard a U.S. airbase in Iraq.
A new SIGAR report criticizes the Army Corps of Engineers for failing to hold contractor DynCorp International accountable for deficiencies in its construction of an Afghan Army garrison.
The Department of Justice has joined a whistleblower lawsuit accusing opinion polling services company The Gallup Organization of committing a multi-million dollar fraud on contracts with the U.S. Mint, the State Department, and other federal agencies.
For nearly four years, POGO has been closely following the operations of Afghanistan’s reconstruction watchdog, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The federal government may be in a tough spot with regard to overseeing the $1 trillion it spends every year on contracts, grants, and financial assistance because the General Services Administration (GSA) heavily relies on one particular recordkeeping system developed by a private company.
On Friday, Booz Allen Hamilton announced that its San Antonio office was removed from the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) and regained full eligibility to compete for new federal contracts. Booz Allen entered into a three-year administrative agreement with the U.S. Air Force. We strongly encourage you to read the agreement, which contains several astonishing admissions about the company’s ethics environment and business practices.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released the second of three annual reviews of Department of Defense (DoD) service contract inventories. As you know, POGO has repeatedly called for the government to improve the quality of these annual inventories, which are crucial for determining the true size and cost-effectiveness of the federal service contractor workforce and whether contractors are performing inherently governmental functions.
Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Jim Webb (D-VA) have introduced the Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act of 2012 (S. 2139), a bill that will greatly enhance transparency, sustainability, and accountability in overseas contingency operation contracting by the Department of Defense (DoD), the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
POGO has learned more details about the Air Force's proposed debarment of Booz Allen Hamilton's San Antonio office. This new information raises a troubling prospect about the revolving door between government and private contractors. Namely, that stopping its abuses often isn’t as easy as it seems.
Welcome to another episode of "As the Washington Revolving Door Turns." The two latest ex-government officials to land jobs with private companies formerly served as very high-profile watchdogs of those companies.
If you have been following the Wikileaks saga, you might remember the inciden involving an IT executive named Aaron Barr and the activist hacker group known as Anonymous. It's a comically bizarre story, but it has larger implications that deserve to be taken very seriously.
The Commission on Wartime Contracting (CWC) may be history, but the need for a contingency operations watchdog of the CWC's caliber will never go away. In fact, just as the CWC was closing up shop last week, the State Department Inspector General released a report finding problems on a $12 million contract in Afghanistan.
Almost six months have passed since the public debut of the government's contractor and grantee responsibility database, the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System, or FAPIIS. POGO was initially less than thrilled with FAPIIS, but we were optimistic that it would improve over time.