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.
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.
Taxpayers paid $3.6 million for television production vehicles donated to Afghanistan that have never been used.
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.
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.