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.
In honor of Sunshine Week, POGO issued a public comment supporting the White House's effort to safeguard federal funds from companies that make employees sign away their right to report misconduct.
POGO issued a public comment supporting the White House's effort to safeguard federal funds from companies that committed a felony or owe taxes.
The Project On Government Oversight submitted a public comment supporting the proposed implementation of President Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order, which imposes new disclosure requirements on contractors and seeks to improve their labor practices.
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.
The Justice Department recovered more than $4.7 billion through False Claims Act cases in fiscal year 2016—a sizable increase over last year’s total, and the federal government’s third highest annual fraud recovery ever.
Sadly, new information about the Pentagon’s $150 million luxury villas in Afghanistan recently disclosed by SIGAR in a letter to Congress may be the final word on this controversial project.
Oversight activity at the Architect of the Capitol Office of Inspector General has plummeted in recent years, putting the billions of taxpayer dollars spent to maintain Capitol Hill buildings and grounds at increased risk of waste and fraud.
President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order—a set of regulations designed to ensure the safety and fair treatment of federal contract workers—was to take effect this week. But on Monday, a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked implementation of most of the new regulations.
Newly released investigative files of the Intelligence Community Inspector General detail egregious behavior—including millions of dollars in fraudulent labor charges—by contractor employees working on highly classified programs and operations.
Will the IRS’s newest attempt to use debt collection companies to recover delinquent taxes succeed where two previous efforts failed? Early indications are not promising.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has some important lessons about the systemic corruption that has hindered the 15-year effort to rebuild the war-torn country.
Eric Ben-Artzi turned down an $8.25 million award for blowing the whistle on fraud at Deutsche Bank because the government let the company’s executives off the hook.
The Obama Administration has released final regulations and guidance to implement the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order. The regulations, which go into effect in October, will bring greater transparency to federal contracting and help level the playing field for law-abiding companies.
For the second time in less than a week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) scored a win for whistleblower rights when it fined Health Net $340,000 for using severance agreements to silence former employees.
A former employee of a controversial Pentagon task force came forward with stories—and photos—of one of the most notorious examples of wasteful spending in the Afghanistan reconstruction.
Billions of taxpayer dollars are at risk of waste because of the U.S. Army’s failure to consistently follow the rules for evaluating the performance of its contractors, according to a new report by the Pentagon’s inspector general.
Senator Chuck Grassley gave Defense Secretary Ashton Carter one month to explain how and why the Pentagon repudiated its own cost estimate of a gas station construction project in Afghanistan.
The Justice Department claims DynCorp International fraudulently overbilled the State Department on a contract to train the Iraqi police. Five years ago, DynCorp paid millions of dollars to resolve similar allegations involving the same contract.
Senator Claire McCaskill requested a briefing with the Pentagon's procurement office Friday after a POGO report found that the office had improperly helped out KGL Logistics, a contractor accused of having illegal business ties with Iran.
Ex-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s actions were “distasteful” and “tawdry,” according to the Supreme Court, but not bribery.
Bells went off when we saw that former GSA official Helen “Renee” Ballard was indicted for a fraud and nepotism scheme involving large federal contractor CACI. Flashback to 2006…
The government’s use of suspension and debarment to keep federal funds out of the hands of risky recipients declined for the first time in many years. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
These are dangerous days for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, whose investigation of waste and wrongdoing in the $113 billion effort to rebuild Afghanistan— particularly of an overpriced gas station—has unleashed a firestorm of criticism.
A newly released Inspector General audit found the CIA broke the law in its hiring and managing its independent contractors. The agency might also have overpaid for the services.
A proposed class action lawsuit alleges the office that runs the PACER court-document access system has been ripping off users for years.
An audit conducted in response to a massive Navy contract bribery scandal found significant weaknesses in the Navy’s management of port service contractors, as well as several improper—and potentially fraudulent—practices by the Navy and its contractors.
To celebrate Sunshine Week, two noted scholars debated the question “Is Our Government Too Open?”
The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard are "essentially rewarding" contractors for producing defective ships, according to a recent GAO report.
According to a new report, the Pentagon passed up more than $12 million in refunds from contractors and put our fighting forces at risk by not effectively managing its stockpile of defective spare parts.
The U.S. Air Force might have paid contractors tens of millions of dollars in unwarranted profits, according to a new report by the Department of Defense Inspector General.
It took almost six years, but the government is set to issue a rule that will increase transparency and accountability in financial advice given to retirement savers.
POGO supports a new rule requiring federal agencies to more rigorously screen felon and tax-delinquent companies that bid on contracts.
The federal government hounded Thomas Tamm for years after he exposed the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping. Now, the District of Columbia wants to take his law license away for blowing the whistle.
There were plenty of fireworks at a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing on a Pentagon task force that spent $638 million to revive Afghanistan's economy.
The Pentagon Task Force that spent $43 million on a gas station and $150 million on luxury villas might have wasted up to $54 million on efforts to revive Afghanistan's oil, gas, and minerals industries.
As Human Rights Week wraps up, we invite the public to explore our Federal Contractor Misconduct Database for instances in which the federal government's largest suppliers were alleged or found to have violated basic human rights and freedoms.
In fiscal year 2015, the Department of Justice recovered more than $3.5 billion in cases involving fraud against the government—a dramatic decrease from the previous fiscal year’s total.
POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database comes alive in an online interactive graph.
Last month's announcement that defense contractor L-3 Communications will pay over $25 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit for selling defective gun sights left us with mixed feelings.
The Pentagon task force responsible for the $43 million gas station in Afghanistan now stands accused of wasting millions on lavish private housing.
The Pentagon task force responsible for the $43 million gas station in Afghanistan is in the news again, this time over claims by its former chief that he is the victim of whistleblower retaliation.
For the first time since the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) began tracking misconduct by the largest federal contractors, pharmaceutical and oil companies make up the top five highest penalized companies in POGO’s annual update.
Energy companies, drug manufacturers, and military hardware suppliers dominate the list of wrongdoers profiled in POGO's upgraded Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.
The Pentagon won't explain why it spent nearly $43 million to build a gas station in Afghanistan that shouldn't have cost more than $500,000.
Why have there been so many federal contractor labor fraud cases in the news lately?
What impact will the Department of Justice's new guidelines for fighting corporate crime have on the companies in POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database and on federal contracting in general?
On Labor Day, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring contractors to provide employees paid sick leave. It was the latest in a series of executive actions designed to improve contractors’ labor practices.
The millions of dollars KBR has spent fighting lawsuits alleging toxic poisoning in Iraq must be reimbursed by taxpayers, according to a ruling by the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.
The Project On Government Oversight submitted a public comment supporting a proposed rule implementing an Executive Order for expanded contractor disclosure. We also suggested ways to make the final rule more effective.
A federal appeals court unanimously upheld the ban on contractor campaign contributions. The court ruled that the ban is supported by the compelling interest of preventing corruption.
The Small Business Administration touted the federal government's small business contracting success last year, claiming $91.7 billion, or 25 percent of all contract dollars, was awarded to small businesses. Are the numbers too good to be true?
The Afghanistan reconstruction watchdog released its findings regarding an unused command facility at Camp Leatherneck that cost taxpayers $36 million.
For the upcoming 3rd National Action Plan, POGO is proposing 8 commitments that will advance contracting transparency.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found that an abandoned and unfinished slaughterhouse in eastern Afghanistan could cost taxpayers upwards of $5.8 million.
A new report shows that the federal government is increasingly relying on suspension and debarment to prevent risky companies and individuals from receiving contracts, grants, and other taxpayer funds.
Add United Airlines to the list of major companies that may be suppressing whistleblowers with restrictive confidentiality agreements. The agreement United requires its employees to sign is very similar to the one for which KBR was recently punished.
A State Department Inspector General report found that some of the government's largest contractors have confidentiality policies that may have a chilling effect on whistleblowers.
The Department of Defense provided an incomplete picture of the billions of dollars it has obligated for Afghanistan reconstruction.
A new report by the Pentagon’s watchdog found that Marine Corps Base Quantico is not doing enough to ensure that small businesses are getting their fair share of federal contracts.
Who are Uncle Sam's favorite corporations? Find out with a free online database that tracks government subsidies and other financial support.
The White House will soon issue a proposed rule for implementing President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. The order will save money and protect millions of workers, but it faces strong opposition from contractors.
Recent actions by the Pentagon justify the public's concern that the government is not being completely forthright about what's happening in Afghanistan.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction updated its latest quarterly report after the Pentagon bowed to pressure and declassified information about Afghan security forces.
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal new insights into the federal government's contractor and grantee misconduct database.
The military's approach to solid waste disposal in Afghanistan was “haphazard and reactive,” not to mention health-endangering, according to a new report.
SIGAR's latest quarterly report on the Afghanistan reconstruction effort is another example of pointless government censorship.
Two years after the company formerly known as SAIC paid millions to settle a contract fraud case, the Air Force officer who blew the whistle remains disappointed with the outcome.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals by KBR and Halliburton to dismiss three lawsuits accusing them of harming service members and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A federal appeals court revived a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging private security contractor Triple Canopy concealed the fact that its guards in Iraq lacked basic firearms proficiency.
Former Louis Berger Group CEO Derish Wolff pleaded guilty to overbilling the U.S. Agency for International Development. Two other former executives have already pleaded guilty in the matter, for which the company paid $69 million in civil and criminal fines.
Fiscal year 2014 was a record-setting year for fraud recoveries under the False Claims Act: the Department of Justice clawed back nearly $5.7 billion in taxpayer money.
America's largest corporations got, on average, $760 in federal funds for every $1 they spent on lobbying and campaign contributions, combined. For the five largest federal contractors, however, the average return on investment was more than twice that amount.
Danish shipping giant Maersk pays $8.7 million to settle claim of defrauding the U.S. government on a contract to supply the military in Afghanistan.
A nearly decade-old whistleblower lawsuit alleging KBR defrauded the government and provided contaminated water in Iraq hangs in the balance at the U.S. Supreme Court.
CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras's new documentary about her meeting with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden last year, is a compelling story that raises important questions about the state of privacy and freedom in the world today.
Taxpayers paid $3.6 million for television production vehicles donated to Afghanistan that have never been used.
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.