About POGO

Nick Pacifico

Nicholas Pacifico

Associate General Counsel


Year Started At POGO: 2015 as a Legal Fellow

PGP Public Key

Areas of expertise: Inspector General System, Federal Improper Payments

Nick Pacifico is Associate General Counsel at POGO who focuses on the federal Inspector General (IG) system. Nick manages POGO’s IG related efforts and contributes to POGO’s reports, testimony, letters, public comments, and blog posts on issues such as IG independence, federal improper payments, and the revolving door between Washington and the private sector. Prior to his work at POGO, Nick worked at DreamFund Holdings, Inc. and Milligan Coughlin LLC, and was an extern legal clerk for Judge Margot Botsford, Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. He earned his J.D. from Northeastern University and his B.S. in Finance from Boston University.

Drilling Down: Oil Companies Are Having Their Cake and Eating It, Too

February 22, 2018

The Interior Department has a history of letting energy companies have their cake and eat it, too—by issuing offshore drilling rights at liquidation-sale prices and cutting companies a break on royalties.

Drilling Down: Big Oil's Bidding

February 22, 2018

The Interior Department’s flawed system for auctioning offshore leases has allowed oil and gas companies to secure drilling rights for a pittance at the expense of the American people, to whom the resources belong, a POGO investigation found.

Improper Payment Recovery Processes, Necessary (Yet Neglected) Triage

October 31, 2016

Improper payment recovery efforts are an important part of this system, but their levels are stagnating and still substantially below estimates.

Data Matching Barriers Prevent Inspectors General From Reaching Full Potential

October 12, 2016

Complex legal and process barriers are preventing agencies and Inspectors General from sharing readily available data.

Federal Improper Payments Are Significant, Costing Taxpayers Billions

July 12, 2016

The federal government makes improper payments every year, costing taxpayers over $1 trillion dollars since 2003.

POGO's Letter to Homeland Security Inspector General To Address Long-standing Revenue Collection Issues at Customs and Border Protection

May 10, 2016

POGO sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General John Roth urging him to thoroughly investigate years of lost revenue by Customs and Border Protection resulting from its lack of focus on revenue collection.

SecDef Mattis Commends IG Efforts and Highlights DoD Shortcomings

July 27, 2017

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis uses an Inspector General report on Department of Defense misspending in Afghanistan to highlight agency-wide issues.

Strengthening Financial Integrity of Federal Agencies

June 16, 2017

The federal government needs to improve the accuracy and completeness of improper payment identification and estimation.

Understanding the Anti-Lobbying Law

June 15, 2017

Despite the plain language of anti-lobbying bans, a narrow interpretation by the DOJ has given executive branch employees a lot of leeway in influencing the legislative process.

Vacancies Leave Whistleblowers Vulnerable

March 23, 2017

To bolster federal oversight and ensure the protection of whistleblowers, President Donald Trump needs to fill positions in Offices of Inspectors General, the Office of Special Counsel, and the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Government Financials a Mess, Improper Payments Rise Again

January 26, 2017

The Government Accountability Office released its financial audit of the federal government for fiscal year 2016, again unable to provide an opinion due to long-standing deficiencies and citing concerns regarding improper payments.

IG Independence Protected by Passage of Empowerment Act

January 23, 2017

The Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016, passed by the Senate in December 2016, codifies the right of Inspectors General to access all agency data they need to effectively do their job.

House Oversight Committee Takes Aim at Improper Payments

November 17, 2016

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report detailing ineffectiveness of current improper payment system.

Independence of Inspectors General is Essential

September 9, 2016

POGO discusses the Partnership for Public Service’s “Walking the Line” report and highlights the importance of Inspector General independence.

POGO: DHS Should Follow Justice Dept., End Reliance on Private Prisons

August 18, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security should follow the Justice Department’s lead and shut down its network of private prisons.

Improper Payments: $1 Trillion of Simple Mistakes

July 18, 2016

The federal government’s improper payments have cost taxpayers over $1 trillion since 2003.

Revenue Issues at CBP Potentially Cost Taxpayers Billions

May 11, 2016

Long-standing issues at Customs and Border Protection have resulted in failures to collect appropriate duties, penalties, and interest from importers, potentially costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

DoD Proposes Increasing Employee Spending Limits

April 27, 2016

The DoD recently proposed legislation to increase the micro-purchase threshold from $3,000 to $10,000. Past abuses of purchase cards highlight the risks of increasing this limit.

December 6, 2017

Texas Paid $5.5 Million in Medicaid Payments to Dead People

National Economics Editorial |

November 15, 2017

Metro May Be Stifling Its Top Internal Watchdog

WAMU 88.5 | By Martin Di Caro

August 17, 2017

Months into office, Trump has yet to appoint key agency watchdogs

CBS News | By Kathryn Watson

May 11, 2016

Is Customs and Border Protection Foregoing Billions in Fees?

Government Executive; govexec.com | By Charles S. Clark