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 issued a public comment supporting a Treasury Department interim rule that improves the way IRS contracting officers determine whether prospective contractors owe federal taxes and thus may be ineligible to receive federal funds.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) submits this comment on the extension of the information collection requirements in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) concerning certified cost or pricing data and data other than certified cost or pricing data.
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 Pentagon is still suffering the consequences of hiring Efraim Diveroli, the Miami Beach military supplier whose exploits landed him in prison and inspired the film War Dogs. He recently won a long-running dispute with the government over canceled contracts to supply weapons to Iraqi security forces.
Last week, a former contractor pleaded guilty to falsifying federal security clearance investigations—the twenty-seventh such conviction in 10 years.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lately seems to have softened its longstanding opposition to the False Claims Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the federal government’s most powerful tools for deterring corporate corruption and protecting taxpayer money.
While it can be helpful to call attention to the exorbitant compensation federal contractors pay their executives, there are other problems in the contracting system that must be addressed.
The companies vying for the Defense Department’s massive, winner-take-all JEDI cloud contract are sparing no expense when it comes to spreading influence around Washington.
A California court recently ordered a contractor that tried to block the release of public records to pay the legal expenses of an organization that requested the records.
A new intelligence agency report found fewer government employees and contractors holding security clearances and a worsening backlog of pending security reviews. But the report omits key data, preventing a deeper dive into the findings.
The failure of a small, inexperienced company to deliver meals to Puerto Rico disaster survivors highlights the need for improved federal contracting.
A new report from the Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog found shortcomings in the agency’s suspension and debarment program, undermining safeguards that protect taxpayers from poorly performing or lawbreaking contractors and other federal fund recipients.
This month, the Department of Justice formally issued its new policy of more aggressively seeking to throw out False Claims Act lawsuits it deems “frivolous” or “meritless.” POGO explains why this is a bad idea.
Don’t let Fortune magazine’s ranking of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” fool you—most of those companies have long rap sheets and paid millions of dollars in fines, penalties, and out-of-court settlements for an assortment of misconduct.
For the third time the IRS hired contractors to collect unpaid federal taxes, and for the third time the effort is falling short: contractors are costing more than they are collecting while making a bad situation even worse for low-income taxpayers.
A Pentagon office that spent $675 million on economic development projects in Afghanistan was rife with waste and achieved “mixed results,” according to an audit report released this week by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
Much has changed since POGO last crunched the numbers on the federal government’s outlays on contracts responding to last year’s hurricanes. For one thing, Pentagon spending data is starting to trickle in.
The Justice Department announced it recovered $3.7 billion in civil fraud and false claims cases in fiscal year 2017—nearly one-quarter less than the previous year.
The Government Accountability Office found the Transportation Department violated executive branch lobbying restrictions last summer when it liked and retweeted a tweet urging the public to support a bill overhauling the nation’s air traffic control system.
The Trump administration is reportedly mulling plans to put a private company in charge of conducting a variety of covert intelligence and counterterrorism activities. We explain why this is a bad idea.
For the second time in two years, the Pentagon has classified information on the capabilities of the Afghan security forces that was previously reported to the public. Will the Pentagon stand by its shaky justification, or will it have a change of heart like the last time it tried to do this?
Next month, the U.S. Army will open bidding on the ten-year, $82 billion LOGCAP V contract. We hope the fraud, waste, and poor performance that plagued past LOGCAP contracts will not be repeated.
Transparency prevailed in California recently when a Los Angeles County judge slapped down a bus manufacturing company’s attempt to halt the release of information about its $500 million government contract.
Regularly updated spreadsheets posted on the Federal Procurement Data System, an online repository of federal contract spending data, reveal fascinating details about the billions spent to aid and rebuild the areas affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Political scientist Paul Light issued an updated headcount of the federal workforce. Of Uncle Sam’s 9.1 million employees, Light estimates more than 40 percent are contract workers.
The federal government’s largest contractors have paid a collective total of $2.7 billion in penalties since the 1990s for a wide variety of labor violations, which you can read about in POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.
TransDigm Group, a leading aircraft parts supplier suspected of overcharging the Pentagon, was sued by stockholders upset about the effect the company’s recent notoriety is having on their portfolios.
Helen Rene’e Ballard, a former GSA contracting official who played a key role in a POGO investigation more than a decade ago, was recently sentenced to prison for a nepotism scheme.
Last week brought disturbing news that two prominent voices from the private security industry— Erik Prince and Stephen Feinberg—are trying to convince the Pentagon to let private security firms replace American troops in Afghanistan. We explain why this is a bad idea.
An IRS program employing private companies to recover overdue taxes is just a few weeks old, but it already has a group of Senators worried the collection companies may be abusing debtors and breaking the law.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced the Trump administration will not postpone the June implementation of a rule imposing a higher ethical standard on financial advisers. “Respect for the rule of law” compelled Secretary Acosta to allow the rule to start taking effect next week.
According to the Department of Defense Inspector General, Department agencies are not consistently tracking the performance of contractors, putting billions of taxpayer dollars at increased risk of fraud, waste, and other misconduct.
The latest comparison of federal government and private sector compensation touched off another debate between pro-contractor and pro-federal employee interest group, but it doesn’t resolve whether the government is getting the most bang for its workforce buck.
In honor of Earth Day 2017, we encourage you to explore our Federal Contractor Misconduct Database and the wealth of information it contains about the environmental records of the largest federal contractors.
Some food for thought as you scramble to finish your tax returns.
The Project On Government Oversight and the Government Accountability Project filed a motion to challenge confidentiality restrictions in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging wrongdoing and safety lapses at the Hanford Site nuclear complex.
On Monday, House Armed Services Committee member Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) asked the Pentagon’s Inspector General to investigate potential misconduct by TransDigm, a key supplier of commercial and military aircraft components.
Congress passed a resolution blocking new contractor fair pay and workplace safety measures. This is disappointing in light of reports by Senator Warren and others, which have highlighted labor violations by federal contractors.
This week, Congress moved one step closer to overturning new rules designed to improve workplace safety and contractor accountability.
Good Jobs First added to its Violation Tracker corporate misconduct database a flood of cases settled in the final weeks of the Obama administration, as well as enforcement data from nine more federal agencies.
There’s an “unhealthy codependency” between the US Navy and Coast Guard and private shipbuilders, who thrive on federal contracts but neglect workplace safety. President Trump’s plan to expand the US fleet could put shipyard workers in even greater danger.
A forthcoming regulation that will protect consumers from unscrupulous retirement advisers may be in jeopardy after President Trump ordered the Department of Labor to review it.
The government has issued a rule that will prohibit agencies from awarding contracts and grants to companies that use confidentiality agreements that discourage whistleblowing.
No one really knows the extent to which federal small business contracts are diverted to large companies. Unfortunately, an appeals court recently refused to shine light on a defense contracting program designed to help small businesses that may be doing more harm than good.
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.
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.
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.