Associate General Counsel
Year Started At POGO: 2015 as a Legal Fellow
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.
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.
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 efforts are an important part of this system, but their levels are stagnating and still substantially below estimates.
Complex legal and process barriers are preventing agencies and Inspectors General from sharing readily available data.
The federal government makes improper payments every year, costing taxpayers over $1 trillion dollars since 2003.
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.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis uses an Inspector General report on Department of Defense misspending in Afghanistan to highlight agency-wide issues.
The federal government needs to improve the accuracy and completeness of improper payment identification and estimation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report detailing ineffectiveness of current improper payment system.
POGO discusses the Partnership for Public Service’s “Walking the Line” report and highlights the importance of Inspector General independence.
The Department of Homeland Security should follow the Justice Department’s lead and shut down its network of private prisons.
The federal government’s improper payments have cost taxpayers over $1 trillion since 2003.
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.
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.
DoD IG Rymer has resigned after only two years. His questionable decisions and lack of accomplishments highlight the importance of having good Inspector Generals.