Scott H. Amey, J.D.Tweet
Year Started At POGO: 1993 & then 2003
PGP Fingerprint: CCCC 4C9C FDED E053 CB8F 71A7 E21E 0362 0C20 EBB7
Areas of expertise: Contract Oversight, Contractor Responsibility, the Revolving Door and Conflicts of Interest, Government Transparency
Scott Amey is POGO’s general counsel and directs contract oversight investigations, including reviews of federal spending on goods and services, the responsibility of top federal contractors, and conflicts-of-interest and ethics concerns that have led to questionable contract awards. Scott testifies before Congress and federal agency panels, submits public comments on proposed regulations, educates the public by working with the media, and publishes reports, alerts, and blogs on contracting and openness issues. Scott rejoined the staff in 2003, and previously worked at POGO in the mid-1990s as a one of the organization’s most prolific investigators. Scott left POGO in 1998 to attend law school, after which he clerked for the Honorable James A. Kenney, III, at the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland from 2001-2003. Amey received a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2001, and a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. Scott is licensed to practice law in Maryland. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CNBC, ABC, and NPR, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, and USA Today, among others, and often provides background information and leads to the media.
- In 2011, testified before Congress and the Commission on Wartime Contracting regarding why questionable contractors continue to receive taxpayer dollars and how to strike the right workforce balance in intelligence programs.
- Co-authored report debunking the myth that service contracts result in cost saving as compared to federal employees.
- Helped expose illegal activities at Area 51, which resulted in the black facility complying with environmental laws.
- Authored reports on Boston’s Big Dig project, safety concerns at nuclear power plants, EPA acquiescence to chemical companies, and inaccuracies in federal election records.
The Project On Government Oversight sent a letter commenting on reforms proposed in the Comprehensive Pentagon Bureaucracy Reform and Reduction Act and the Accelerating the Pace of Acquisitions Reform Act of 2018. While some proposals could increase oversight and reduce costs, many others would reduce the effectiveness of weapon systems, increase wasteful spending, and make it more difficult for the Department of Defense to identify and enact significant cost savings.
Today, POGO requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate the media report that Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the director of the Office of Management and Budget, urged industry officials at an American Bankers Association conference to contact Members of Congress and lobby them to take control of the CFPB by removing its funding through the Federal Reserve. If that report is true, Mulvaney’s actions appear to violate the ban on lobbying with appropriated funds and the Antideficiency Act.
Unless altered, FEMA's supersized proposal to hire a single vendor to handle all of the shipping, transportation, logistics, and delivery of disaster relief to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for the next 12 months might slow recovery efforts.
POGO sent a letter to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees urging them to prioritize proposals that will save taxpayer dollars and increase the military's effectiveness.
Daniel Craig was nominated to be FEMA’s Deputy Administrator. He previously served as the Director of FEMA’s Recovery Division in the early 2000s, resigning his post soon after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. He self-reported possible ethics violation, which, combined with an Inspector General investigation, caused Mr. Craig to withdraw his name from consideration for the FEMA post.
The Office of Government Ethics should promote a clear written record of all appointee ethics restrictions. Generally, appointee ethics agreements only cite a one-year recusal period, which ignores any extended recusal period required pursuant to the President’s ethics pledge. In an effort to avoid confusion and prevent ethics violations, POGO urges OGE to work with appointees and agencies, detailing all applicable conflict of interest restrictions.
Federal purchase and travel cards continue to represent a significant source of improper and fraudulent payments. While some progress has been made by federal agencies in recent years, POGO supports the Senate's effort to address the long-standing problem.
Several provisions included in the Defense Acquisition Streamlining and Transparency Act (H.R. 2511) will save money and streamline operations, but other proposals such as altering DoD’s contract auditing processes and increasing the threshold for contractors to supply cost or pricing data, are a recipe for waste, fraud, and abuse.
The Project on Government Oversight urged the Office of Management and Budget to withdraw its request that the Office of Government Ethics stay its data call for appointees’ ethics waivers and authorizations. POGO also requested that the Trump administration list and provide copies of ethics waivers on its “Ethics Pledge Waivers Released by the White House” website, which currently states that the “information on this page is being updated. Ethics pledge waivers will be published as they become available.”
24 groups and individuals are deeply concerned about the actions taken this week by President Trump in firing FBI Director Comey at a time when the FBI's investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election is reaching a critical stage. With the integrity and credibility of the Justice Department clearly at stake, it is incumbent upon the DOJ to promptly appoint an independent Special Counsel to oversee the Russia investigation and to make all decisions about whether criminal prosecutions are warranted.
There are circumstances under which an eligible income beneficiary of a discretionary trust might be able to compel the trustee to make a distribution or payment, and therefore POGO urges OGE to reconsider its previous guidance which states that reporting pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 208 should only occur when the beneficiary receives income during the reporting period.
POGO joins bipartisan organizations and individuals requesting a General Services Administration Inspector General review that the Trump Old Post Office LLC is “in full compliance” with its ground lease for the Old Post Office Building. Despite an unambiguous provision preventing any "elected official" from "any share or part of the Lease, or to any benefit that may arise," GSA ruled that President Trump is in compliance with the lease because he's taken measures to ensure that funds do not flow to him.
The “Contractor Accountability and Transparency Act of 2017” (S. 651) introduced by Senators McCaskill and Tester will enhance transparency in the area of federal contract spending. The bi'l will expand the information available on USASpending.gov, make the contract information more accessible and readable, and help reduce Freedom of Information Act backlogs.
POGO is requesting that the Department of Justice launch an investigation into possible ethics violations by White House staff, including the recent communications of Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Assistant to the President and Director of Social Media Dan Scavino Jr. endorsing the personal business interests of Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Trump and spouse of Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner.
A group of bipartisan experts urge President-elect Donald Trump to immediately divest his businesses and place the assets and investments into a genuine blind trust.
POGO's Scott Amey testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at a hearing titled “Examining the Costs of Overclassification on Transparency and Security”. POGO's testimony highlighted ways the executive branch conceals information from Congress and the public, including overclassification, retroactive classification, and use of controlled unclassified information markings. The testimony offered seven recommendations for resolving the tension between openness and secrecy in government.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) today joined more than a dozen ethics officials and good government groups to send a letter to President-Elect Donald Trump urging him to set up a genuine blind trust, or the equivalent, for all of his business assets and investments.
POGO opposes the Defense Department's latest attempt to alter "commercial item" contracting processes, which were imposed by Congress. Recent defense authorization laws expanded the buying of military-only items, limit DoD’s access to contractor cost or pricing information, restrict conversions when an item no longer has a commercial market, and essentially lock the government into previous commercial determinations and prices. Simply stated, Congress is forcing DoD into a worse buying position than the one that it is in.
Many U.S. states rank among the easiest places in the world to form companies without revealing the identity of the people who ultimately own and control them. Anonymously-owned companies present national security threats, lower quality infrastructure and services, higher prices, wasted tax dollars and decreased trust in government. Congress should urge the executive branch to create a system that identifies beneficial owners receiving government funds to ensure that federal dollars are awarded to responsible parties.
Wanna hear POGO's take on Trump's taxes and Hillary's emails?
POGO support DoD's proposal to standardize commercial item buying. The proposals will assist contracting officers in obtaining needed cost or pricing data that will ensure that the government receives fair and reasonable prices.
POGO joins group urging for improvements to the proposed regulation on Controlled Unclassified Information. Our comment expressed concerns that proposed rule could discourage legitimate information-sharing, both internally and outside the government, become a fourth level of classification, or hinder public access to government records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
In a letter to the Senate and House Armed Services Committee, POGO outlines key acquisition reform policies, wasteful defense spending in conventional and nuclear weapons and MOX, support for close air support and the A-10, and oversight over risky weapon programs like the littoral combat ship (LCS) and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Groups urge the World Bank to increase the transparency and accountability by requiring the disclosure and publication of the beneficial ownership information for all legal entity bidders.
The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has done much over the last seven years to increase the integrity and credibility of the House ethics process. That is why we are disturbed by the recent effort by former House Ethics Committee staff director Dan Schwager to blame, without any evidence, the leak of a recent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) investigative report on OCE.
POGO opposes new plan to scrap pricing protection tool and rely on sales data indicating previous government prices paid. The plan would essentially lock the government into buying commercially available goods at government prices rather genuine market prices.
Reforms proposed by the House Armed Services Committee likely exacerbate the Pentagon's systemic waste and mismanagement problems.
POGO and GAP supports the Office of special Counsel proposed rule to allow current and former federal contractors to submit whistleblowing disclosures to challenge illegality, gross waste, gross mismanagement, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
There is a concerted effort by Department of Defense officials to willfully breach laws and congressional mandates to implement an improved service contract tracking system. Rather than implement an effective inventory system, as required by law, DoD is shirking its total force management responsibilities, and perpetuating billions of dollars in unnecessary service contracting costs.
POGO received a subpoena for all records it has received related to the failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs. POGO will not comply with the VA's demand, arguing that it violates the Constitution and will harm the underlying mission of the organization.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) requests that the Department of Justice investigate federal fund recipients using confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements that infringe current and former employees’ federal whistleblower rights in violation of the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §3730(h)), the Federal Acquisition Regulation (48 C.F.R. Subpart 3.9), and other federal whistleblower protection laws (e.g., 10 U.S.C. §2409, 41 U.S.C. §4712). POGO is concerned that companies are using these agreements to hinder governmental investigations into criminal, civil, and administrative violations on federal contracts, grants, and other federally funded programs.
POGO requests that the DoD IG reconsider its narrow ruling restricting who can receive a protected disclosure from contractor employees. Despite congressional efforts to broaden the law prohibiting whistleblower reprisals, the IG is ignoring the law and making it more difficult for whistleblowers to expose waste, fraud, and abuse.
POGO wants federal contracting policy office to strengthen proposed rule to truly uphold a zero-tolerance policy against human trafficking in the contractor labor supply chain.
The Project On Government Oversight endorses the “Stop Unworthy Spending Act” of 2013 or the SUSPEND Act. The bill would create the Board of Suspension and Debarment, providing a centralized body to manage the suspension and debarment system.
On September 26, 2013, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued Human Capital: Opportunities Exist to Further Improve DoD’s Methodology for Estimating the Costs of Its Workforces (GAO-13-792).
On August 13, 2013, your office issued a memorandum announcing an audit of Department of Defense compliance with the Berry Amendment (Project No. D2013-D000CG-0208.000). The Project On Government Oversight supports such an audit, and would like to see it expanded to also include a review of DoD’s compliance with the Buy American Act.
POGO's Scott Amey talks about the growing private intelligence industry that includes major federal contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, the former employer of Edward Snowden. Podcast with Joe Newman, Aimee Thomson, Jana Persky and Andre Francisco.
POGO's General Counsel Scott Amey went on C-SPAN to discuss Edward Snowden and the rapid increase in private intelligence contractors.
Since the 1990s, there have been several major shifts in federal procurement, including increased contract spending, a stretched acquisition workforce, spending on services outpacing spending on goods, and a host of acquisition reforms implemented to make spending easier. The result is that the government is sometimes doing business with risky contractors—contractors with criminal, civil, and administrative misconduct records or poor performance histories.
The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced a public meeting on March 5, 2013, and requested public comments on “the practice of comparing the relative cost of performance by Federal employees versus contract performance in order to identify the most cost-effective source.” POGO hopes that all of the oral and written comments will be used to create a comprehensive cost comparison model that will be used when making human capital planning decisions.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following “Public Comment on Protections Against Trafficking in Persons.” 78 Fed. Reg. 9918 (February 12, 2013).
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) Board (b)(6) commercial item exemption proposed rule. (77 Fed. Reg. 69422, November 19, 2012). As an independent nonprofit organization committed to achieving a more accountable and transparent federal government, POGO has a longstanding interest in federal contracting issues.
Federal agencies are misleading Congress about the true cost if hiring service contractors. Responses from OMB, DHS, and the Army show that the government is negligent in ensuring that it is hiring the most cost-efficient workforce.
The suspension of BP from future government contracts is surprising but welcome.
The executive order that President Obama signed today will expand the scope of current anti-trafficking policies and regulations.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) urges you to support the Department of Defense’s (DoD) legislative proposal for the National Defense Authorization Act that will result in improved oversight of billions of dollars’ worth of so-called “commercial” goods and services.
I want to thank Chairman McCaskill, Ranking Member Portman, and the Subcommittee for asking the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) to submit written testimony about the important, but often ignored, issue of service contracting costs. Although there are many initiatives in place to cut federal agency spending and reduce the costs associated with the federal workforce, the cost of contractor services has escaped scrutiny. Such avoidance is extremely disturbing because the government annually spends more taxpayer dollars on contractor services than it spends on goods, over $320 billion and $210 billion in FY 2011, respectively. To put that level of spending in perspective, total contract spending was $205 billion in FY 2000, of which services accounted for $128 billion of the total.
Cost Accounting Standards: Clarification of the Application of the Exemption from CAS at 48 CFR 9903.201-1(b)(15) for Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contracts and subcontracts Awarded on the Basis of Adequate Price Competition without Submission of Cost or Pricing Data
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to RIN 1105–AB27, “Revision of Department of Justice Freedom of Information Act Regulations” (76 Fed. Reg. 57940, September 19, 2011). The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) notice of proposed rulemaking would amend DOJ’s regulations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including permitting DOJ to present a false and misleading FOIA response regarding certain law enforcement records. As an independent nonprofit organization committed to achieving a more accountable and transparent federal government, POGO opposes that proposed language.
POGO recommends that intelligence community agencies, Congress, and the Committees with jurisdiction conduct assessments of intelligence community service contracts in order to gain a better understanding of the types of services procured, the total dollars awarded, the contract vehicles utilized, and contractor performance history.
Service contract award dollars have dramatically increased in recent years based on the assumption that shifting work to the private sector saves taxpayer dollars. POGO’s report compares total annual compensation for federal and private sector employees with federal contractor billing rates in order to determine whether the current costs of federal service contracting serves the public interest. Previous analyses have only focused on employee salaries and compensation and not federal contractor billing rates. POGO’s study shows that the federal government approves service contract billing rates that, on average, pay contractors 1.83 times more than the government pays federal employees in total compensation, and more than 2 times the full compensation paid in the private sector for comparable services. Given that one-quarter of all discretionary spending now goes to service contractors, a reassessment of the total federal work force, with a focus on contractor billing rates, could save taxpayers billions of dollars annually.
Many acquisition reforms were imposed prior to the large increase in federal contract spending (which exceeded $537 billion in fiscal year 2010), consolidation in the contractor community, the large-scale hiring of contractors to perform government services, and increased demands on the acquisition workforce to do more with less, which has led to waste, fraud, and abuse.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to FAR Case 2010-010, “Federal Acquisition Regulation; Service Contracts Reporting Requirements” (76 Fed. Reg. 22070, April 20, 2011). The proposed rule, issued by the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), seeks comments on amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement section 743 of Division C of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (hereinafter Act). The proposed rule requires service contractors for executive agencies covered by the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act of 1998, except the DoD, to submit information annually in support of agency-level inventories for service contracts.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to IC 9000–00XX, “Preventing Personal Conflicts of Interest for Contractor Employees Performing Acquisition Functions.” 76 Fed. Reg. 27648, May 12, 2011.
POGO's testimony about the issue of contractor accountability, and about how past performance information and the suspension and debarment process can be used to improve contingency operations in reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Based on your most recent letters to POGO, we modified the NIH letter and blog to reflect that the timeline notes that GSK “would receive” all three drafts of the handbook and page proofs for final approval.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) Board’s proposed rule entitled “Cost Accounting Standards: Elimination of the Exemption from Cost Accounting Standards for Contracts Executed and Performed Entirely Outside the United States, Its Territories, and Possessions” (75 FR 64684, October 20, 2010).
In response to your third letter, and after additional reviews of the numerous documents in our possession, the Project On Government Oversight (“POGO”) will not be altering its November 29, 2010, revised letter to National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) or blog entry, or issuing an apology.
In response to your letters dated December 9, 2010, POGO has consistently applied the earlier modification to the NIH letter and the December 01, 2010, Ghostbusters at POGO blog posted on POGO’s website.
In response to your letters and after a comprehensive internal review, the Project On Government Oversight (“POGO”) will make minor changes to the online version of its November 29, 2010, letter to National Institutes of Health (“NIH”), which expressed concerns about the integrity of federally funded research.
POGO's Scott Amey testifies about the Treasury Department's use of Emergency Contracting Authority and its potential problems including, risky contract vehicles, inadequate competition, and a lack of transparency and accountability.
We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the SF-LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities, as announced in the June 22, 2010 Federal Register. As organizations and individuals dedicated to government accountability and civic participation, we believe that the current form needs substantial change to strengthen disclosure of lobbying contacts within the executive branch. Acting under authority granted by the Byrd Amendment (as amended by the Lobbying Disclosure Act), combined with general government operations authority, and consistent with the intent of the executive order on Ethics Commitments By Executive Branch Personnel (E.O. 13490), we believe that SF-LLL should be amended to capture all contacts that involve attempts to seek contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, loans, insurance awards, tax expenditures, or any other financial arrangements.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to DFARS Case 2009-D015, "Organizational Conflicts of Interest in Major Defense Acquisition Programs" (75 Fed. Reg. 20954, April 22, 2010). The proposed rule issued by the Department of Defense (DoD) seeks comments on additional requirements for organizational conflicts of interest (OCI). As an independent nonprofit organization committed to achieving a more accountable federal government, POGO supports the implementation of new standards and procedures to better detect and avoid actual or potential organizational conflicts of interest and thereby increase public confidence in defense contracting.
POGO strongly supports the intent of the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking under FAR case 2009-004, Enhancing Contract Transparency (75 Fed. Reg. 26916, May 13, 2010). This case will amend the FAR to enable the online posting of contracts and task and delivery orders. The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) are "seeking information that will assist in determining how best to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to enable public posting of contract actions, should such posting become a requirement in the future, without compromising contractors' proprietary and confidential commercial or financial information."
POGO's General Counsel Scott Amey went on C-SPAN to discuss Edward Snowden and the rapid increase in private intelligence contractors.
...In this vein, POGO strongly supports the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under FAR case 2009-006, Labor Relations Costs, published at 75 Fed. Reg. 19345 (April 14, 2010). This long-overdue proposed rule amends FAR Subpart 31.205-21 to make unallowable contractor costs incurred to persuade employees with respect to unionization....
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s (OFPP) “Proposed Policy Letter” clarifying work reserved for performance by federal government employees. 75 Fed. Reg. 16188 (March 31, 2010). POGO is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government. We have a keen interest in government contracting matters, especially matters related to policies regarding the performance of government functions by private contractors.
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government. POGO has a keen interest in government contracting matters, especially matters related to the suspension and debarment system.
In 2009, the federal government awarded more than $523 billion in federal contracts—contracts for goods, including complex weapons systems, and services.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) uses USAspending.gov on a regular basis, and since 2008 we have used the top 100 contractor list for compiling our Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (http://www.contractormisconduct.org/), which includes criminal, civil, and administrative cases, as well as investigative findings on the top 100-plus federal contractors. Government contract data has come a long way since the days of accessing federal contracting information via the complicated Federal Procurement Data System. We are pleased that the contracting information is more timely and that USAspending.gov is user-friendly, and we hope that Version 2.0 will continue in that tradition.
I am making this request under the Freedom Of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552. Please provide records that are maintained by an agency or for an agency by a government contractor in any format, including an electronic format.
I have included this FOIA Fee Waiver Supplement to provide a detailed account of POGO’s planned use of the requested information and to fully respond to GSA’s fee waiver criteria governed by 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) and 41 C.F.R. § 105–60.305–13.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Federal Acquisition Regulation proposed rule entitled “Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related Thresholds” (75 FR 5716, February 4, 2010). Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government. POGO has a keen interest in government contracting matters and as a result, is concerned when more contracts become exempt from Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provisions that are designed to protect taxpayer dollars.
As such, one of POGO’s areas of focus is government contracting. Accordingly, we urge the DFARS Council to ensure that contractors are provided with appropriate incentives to correct deficiencies in their business systems in a timely manner including, but not limited to, withholds on interim payments.
... POGO has a keen interest in government contracting matters, especially matters related to acquisition and conflicts of interest. The proposed rule provides enhanced measures to identify and prevent personal conflicts of interest when contractor employees are performing acquisition functions closely associated with inherently governmental functions. ...
In our efforts to further this mission, we want to bring to your attention two troubling self-policing programs—the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) programs—administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Inherent in this sort of self-regulation is a reduction of federal oversight of imported goods coming into the country.
POGO is concerned with the government's acceptance of limited competition in contracting as well as its over-reliance on cost-reimbursement, time and material contracts, and commercial item contracts.
Problems in today's federal contracting stem from workforce reductions but additional problems such as inadequate competition, deficient accountability, lack of transparency, and risky contracting vehicles deserve attention.
Cost Accounting Standards: Exemption From Cost Accounting Standards for Contracts Executed and Performed Entirely Outside the United States, Its Territories, and Possessions – Notice of request for information
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to FAC 2005–30, FAR Case 2008–003—"Public Disclosure of Justification and Approval Documents for Noncompetitive Contracts." (74 Fed. Reg. 2731 (January 15, 2009)). POGO is an independent nonprofit organization that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to DFARS Case 2008-D007 – "Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Senior DoD Officials Seeking Employment With Defense Contractors." (74 Fed. Reg. 2408 (January 15, 2009)).
As you might recall, on October 15, 2007, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) wrote to Transportation Secretary Peters to encourage the USDOT Inspector General to investigate the administration of the federal Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration (TTID) program.
POGO remains concerned with the award of taxpayer dollars to contractors with long rap sheets and urges this Committee to think big when creating a new and improved suspension and debarment database.
We would like to extend our congratulations on your assumption of office as President of the United States. We would also like to take this opportunity to reintroduce our organization to you and share our suggestions regarding two laws creating government databases designed to reduce fraud and waste in federal government spending.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) enthusiastically endorses Mr. George Mulley for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Edward McGaffigan Jr. Public Service Award.
For years, reports have exposed specific contracting missteps in individual cases of waste, fraud, and abuse. But the findings and recommendations from the individual cases are applicable to the larger systemic problems with the Department of Homeland Security's contracting laws and regulations.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) commends your legislative efforts through SB 1199 to provide University of California (UC) employees the same whistleblower protections as other state employees.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is pleased that your office is conducting an audit of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration (TTID) program at the request of Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Anthony Weiner.
Since 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit organization that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to FAR Case 2007-018, "Organizational Conflicts of Interest" (73 Fed. Reg. 34686, June 18, 2008).
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to FAR Case 2007-017–"Service Contractor Employee Personal Conflicts of Interest" (73 Fed. Reg. 34600, June 17, 2008).
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to FAR Case 2007-006—“Contractor Compliance Program and Integrity Reporting (2nd Proposed Rule).” (73 Fed. Reg. 28407 (May 16, 2008).)
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit organization that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to FAR Case 2006-022—“Contractor Performance Information” (73 Fed. Reg. 17945 (April 2, 2008)).
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) provides the following public comment to FAR Case 2007-008—Limiting Length of Noncompetitive Contracts in “Unusual and Compelling Urgency” Circumstances. (73 Fed. Reg. 5784 (January 31, 2008)).
POGO has been asked to present its views on the recommendations made by the Acquisition Advisory Panel, as well as on the proposals made in H.R. 3033 (the “Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act of 2007”), H.R. 4881 (the “Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2007”), and H.R. 3928 (the “Government Contractor Accountability Act of 2007”).
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.
Competition in contracting is essential to getting fair and reasonable costs and prices for goods and services. The Department of Transportation's "Transportation Technology Innovation and Demonstration" (TTID) program, to provide real-time traffic information to travelers, highlights a contract that deserves more federal oversight.
POGO's response to the Subcommittee's July 30, 2007 letter presenting questions to complete the record on Testimony on Federal Contracting: Why Do Risky Contractors Keep Getting Rewarded With Taxpayer Dollars?
This is the Project On Government Oversight's (POGO) response to the Subcommittee's July 30, 2007 letter presenting questions to complete the record for the hearing entitled "Federal Contracting: Do Poor Performers Keep Winning?"
Testimony of Scott Amey, General Counsel, Project On Government Oversight (POGO), before the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on "Federal Contracting: Why Do Risky Contractors Keep Getting Rewarded With Taxpayer Dollars?"
The FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act prohibits lobbying activities by certain Defense Department officials, which will slow down the revolving door and help drain the swamp.
The failure of a small, inexperienced company to deliver meals to Puerto Rico disaster survivors highlights the need for improved federal contracting.
Whitefish Energy’s controversial contract to restore power in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico highlights systemic federal contracting problems.
The no-audit clause in the Whitefish Energy contract to restore electricity in Puerto Rico is a problem, and it actually highlights a bigger problem with many federal contracts.
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.
The White House reversed its decision to fight the Office of Government Ethics over the release of government ethics records the day after POGO requested that it should proactively release copies of ethics waivers on public websites.
The “Contractor Accountability and Transparency Act of 2017” (S. 651) introduced by Senator Claire McCaskill will enhance transparency in the area of federal contract spending. The bill will expand the information available on USASpending.gov, make the contract information more accessible and readable, and help reduce Freedom of Information Act backlogs.
President Trump’s ethics executive order fails to drain the swamp and end a federal government controlled by influence peddlers. Although some of the restrictions are good, the order fails to redefine lobbying and therefore offers little hope that much will actually change in Washington.
POGO’s Scott Amey testified this week before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at a hearing titled “Examining the Costs of Overclassification on Transparency and Security.” POGO’s testimony highlighted ways the executive branch conceals information from Congress and the public, including the use of overclassification, retroactive classification, controlled unclassified information markings, and secret laws. The testimony offered seven recommendations for resolving the tension between openness and secrecy in government.
The Office of Government Ethics finalized a rule governing the solicitation and acceptance of gifts to government employees from outside sources. The new rule is intended to “advance public confidence in the integrity of Federal officials” by advising government employees that they should avoid accepting gifts that create an appearance that their integrity or ability to act impartially is compromised.
The General Services Administration announced a new contract with Dun & Bradstreet to provide the government with data on contractors, grantees, and other recipients of federal funds. This deal ensures that any future changes in the way those receiving government funds are identified doesn’t cause a major government disruption or loss of data.
Despite requests by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, the Air Force isn't releasing the final contract value for the B-21, the new Long Range Strike Bomber, arguing that estimates are good enough.
New legislation and industry concerns might have killed a Defense Department commercial item buying rule that would have prevented wasteful spending. We'll have to wait until next year, but it certainly looks like the Pentagon is locked into more bad deals.
The White House's National Action Plan is filled with many promises, but lacks details and misses opportunities.
The General Services Administration charges other agencies fees when they use GSA-established contracts. Those fees have provided a slush fund to GSA that exceeds $1 billion.
The Department of Defense isn't auditable, but can it be when the Navy has a faulty contract payment system?
Newly released records show the EPA reacting to an undefined emergency in the same region as the Gold King Mine leak — a day before the spill occurred.
After five years, POGO finally receives a FOIA response from the Department of Defense...sort of.
The United States Agency for International Development’s Partner Vetting System isn't without controversy, but it is possible to find the right balance to ensure taxpayer dollars don't go to terrorists.
Government charge card spending abuses are reoccurring, and records obtained by POGO show that the problem is worse than imagined.
POGO opposes a new plan to scrap pricing protections and rely instead on prices previously paid by the government. The plan would essentially lock the government into buying commercially available goods at government prices rather genuine market prices.
POGO has received lobbying documents that show that proposed changes to commercial items definitions and procurement processes come at the behest of industry. And if history is any guide, the Defense Department and taxpayers will have to eat the costs of the new “efficiencies.”
The end of Operation Enduring Freedom and the beginning of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel on January 1, 2015, are creating a bureaucratic stir in Washington. The result might be a turf battle by Inspectors General and a loss of much needed oversight.
No one likes a tax cheat, but questions remain about whether the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Whistleblower Office is doing enough to incentivize and reward whistleblowers who report tax violations.
Representative Duckworth wants more information about Defense Department efforts to hire the appropriate workforce and to use contractor inventories for budgetary and readiness purposes.
In an effort to know more about federal contractors who influence elections, 50 groups have signed on to a letter urging President Obama to tackle the issue of secret political spending that can result in corruption in federal contracting.
Operating in the dark could make the NSA and other intelligence agencies prone to fraud and corruption. Labor overcharging by contract employees of the NSA might only be the tip of the iceberg.
It's only February, but its been a busy year on the open government front. The Transportation Security Administration's use of pseudo-classification markings has been criticized and the problem appears more like a pattern that a random instance.
DoD is shirking its legal responsibilities to monitor and improve the size, spending, and functions of the service contracting workforce. The result is wasted money that could be spent on equipment, training, and support that DoD and soldiers need.
The Department of Energy cancelled plans to construct the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement – Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF). DOE plans to update existing facilities and to construct modular facilities, but questions still linger.
Acquisition reform is a hot buzz phrase, but the latest proposal by the New Democrat Coalition reads like a contracting lobbyist's talking points. Contracting improvements are needed, but the government shouldn't invite contractors to run the store and gut accountability measures.
This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Department of Homeland Security vs. Robert MacLean. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is proud to be one of several organizations that has filed an amicus brief in support of Robert MacLean.
The Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General (IG) responded positively to a bipartisan Hill letter inquiring about a recent decision by his office that seemed to undermine contractor whistleblower protections.
This week, the Project On Government Oversight submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting Robert MacLean, who blew the whistle on a cost-cutting measure that would have removed air marshals from long-distance flights when the government was aware of a looming terrorist hijacking plot.
A bipartisan group of Members of Congress sent a letter chastising the DoD Office of Inspector General for having an “extremely limited definition of Department of Defense personnel to whom contractor and subcontractor employees may make protected disclosures.”
Openness expert responds to a POGO blog; details his cautious approach when he objected to the release of government information for client.
If the government sped up dismantlement and highly enriched uranium downblending efforts, the United States and the world would be a safer place—and the government might make a few (million) dollars, too.
Improvements to FOIA are moving through Congress, and one additional change is needed--the public should be informed when contractors object to the release of information to the public.
Today, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General released a report finding ethics violations by Regina Dugan, former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The report was prompted by the Project On Government Oversight in 2011.
A House hearing will look at the False Claims Act, which protects the federal government from fraud by companies and individuals, but some groups are calling for cuts to the law's most important provisions.
SIGAR wants USAID to stop stonewalling about failures in Afghanistan reconstruction spending. USAID is protecting information, and some of their justifications are far fetched.
The Department of Defense doesn't want anyone, including the DoD Inspector General, to know who is going through the revolving door.
The White House raised the contractor compensation cap to nearly $1 million. That amount doesn't signify how much contractor can be paid; it only signifies how much will come from U.S. taxpayers. POGO supports efforts to significantly reduce the taxpayers' financial burden for paying exorbitant contractor compensation.
The Senate is taking up contractor compensation in the Defense Authorization bill. Different caps are on the table, but both are significantly lower than the House proposal, which might cause a battle during the conference committee meetings to finalize the bill.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan reconstruction is predicting an oversight access gap in the future. The troop drawdown is going to make it impossible to oversee many reconstruction projects that have been completed or are under construction.
POGO has proposed changes to the federal government's suspension and debarment system for years, and supports the proposed SUSPEND Act, which would consolidate the vast suspension and debarment system.
POGO urged the Defense Department Inspector General to expand its audit into domestic preference laws. The IG recently announced that is would expand the audit, and now it will investigate DoD compliance with the Berry Amendment and the Buy American Act.
The Army outlined plans to have soldiers work in dining halls and as security guards, removing contractors from those activities. Finding the right mix of military, civilian, and contractor personnel is essential to an effective military, and cost is a vital variable that should be considered.
DARPA improperly awards contracts, often without proper evaluations, required support or approvals, and checking the adequacy of contractor accounting systems.
Despite years of denying the existence of Area 51, the CIA, in response to a Freedom of information Request from the National Security Archive has finally confirmed that the Nevada base exists and that it is, indeed, named Area 51.
The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is promoting the idea of allowing contracting personnel to rotate between the government and the private sector. But this proposal is the last thing we need if we want to enhance the federal acquisition workforce.
Chairman Issa's SUSPEND Act draft bill has been the subject of a hearing and a recent panel discussion. Although many contracting experts don't see a need for change, it might be time for legislation that will improve the suspension and debarment system and finally hold contractors accountable.
Potentially billions of taxpayer dollars may be going out the door to defense contractors without the normal scrutiny Defense Department auditors usually give to this spending. And it might be too late for the government to get our money back even when some of those contract dollars are examined and overcharges are found.
The Senate border security and immigration bill includes anti-taxpayer contracting provisions that run the risk of abuse. Competition and bid protests are important tools to ensure that costs are low, performance is high, laws are followed, and the process is fair.
The congressional effort to reduce the contractor compensation cap is still moving forward. That effort got a big boast last week when the GAO found that a cap reduction could result in hundreds of millions in savings, and that might only be the tip of the iceberg.
Today, the GAO released a report which found savings of at least $100 million a year if the government reduces the taxpayers' burden to compensate contractor employees. A reduction is needed and Congress should get serious about cutting federal spending.
This week, the House Armed Services Committee took up the long-debated issue of setting the contractor compensation benchmark in the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. Section 813 includes language to set the cap at its current level of $763,029, but allows for cost adjustments.
GSA's new wireless agreement is being applauded for its cost savings and efficiencies. But does it really answer the call, especially after taking years to award?
The White House is backing down on its call to significantly reduce the cap on compensation for defense and civilian contractor employees.
The Department of Energy Inspector General found subcontract audit weaknesses with nine Management and Operating contractors. Subcontracts totaling nearly $1 billion had not been audited or were reviewed in a manner that did not meet audit standards, which can lead to waste and fraud of taxpayer dollars.
OMB's Norman Dong provided details about a federal agency with 13 comparable phone service plans that appear to be wasting taxpayer dollars.
The President's 2014 budget proposal includes proposals to improve the federal contracting system, which is a good start to save taxpayer dollars.
POGO supports the government's efforts to compare the cost of federal employees and contractors performing the same work because it currently lacks an effective way to compare the true costs when making hiring and contracting decisions.
Contractors are permitted to price or seek reimbursement from the government up to $763,029 in costs for each of their employees’ compensation packages. This is nearly twice the salary of the President of the United States. The President is calling for a reduction, and Congress is ready to act.
POGO has urged the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to implement the strongest possible prohibitions on trafficking in persons (TIP), but you can help fight human trafficking too.
The Department of Energy (DOE) Inspector General (IG) released an inspection report detailing prime contractor employees who retire and then go to work as a subcontractor doing the same work in the same office but at a higher salary, which might not be good for taxpayers.
Access to federal government data on the size and cost of the contractor workforce needs improvement. Agencies still don't collect the data needed to understand the financial burden of millions of government and contractor workers.
Defense Department contractor employees are costing nearly 3 times more than an average DoD civilian employee, but little is being done by DoD and Congress to prevent such wasteful spending.
The Project On Government Oversight and other groups are urging Congress to lower the amount of allowable compensation that contractor employees can bill to Pentagon contracts.
Single-bid contracts and lack of pricing data are preventing good buying at the Defense Department.
An Executive Order details guidance for a new anti-human trafficking rule that will prohibit U.S.-facilitated trafficking occurring abroad. The EO strengthens the government’s zero-tolerance policy rules governing trafficking in persons.
Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled Results of Studies on Federal Pay Varied Due to Differing Methodologies (GAO-12-564).
POGO recently learned that DoD sent a legislative proposal to Congress to narrow the definition of a "commercial item" to mean goods or services that are actually sold to the general public in "like quantities." This proposal is a huge improvement over the current definition.
Last week, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) raised the amount the federal government will reimburse or price into government contracts for contractor executive compensation to $763,029.
Last week, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) proposed the Commonsense Contractor Compensation Act of 2012 (S. 2198) to reduce taxpayer reimbursement of government contractor compensation. The bill would apply a $400,000 compensation cap to all contractor employees, not just defense contractors as mandated in the 2012 Defense Authorization bill (see Sec. 803).
Is the federal suspension and debarment system broken? The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) attempted to answer that question yesterday.
President Obama's contractor political spending Executive Order (EO) isn't out yet, but that's not preventing Congress from heading it off at the pass. The House approved the National Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1540), which includes a provision (Section 847) which would prohibit the federal government from requiring a contractor to disclose political spending on federal elections and prevent much-needed transparency and accountability of possible pay-to-play antics.
President Obama is considering issuing an executive order that will require the disclosure of and online public access to federal contractor spending on elections.
GSA schedules are beneficial as intended, but are they a government nightmare in reality? The schedules offer pre-negotiated contracts to federal and state agencies looking to buy commercial goods and services.
Longtime POGO fans will remember our work on Area 51. The Federation of American Scientists’ Steven Aftergood recently detailed a May 2005 emergency manual for the F-117A Stealth Fighter, detailing the aircraft’s dimensions, hazards, materials, and “hazardous byproducts of burning wreckage.” That information mirrors discovery requests by former Area 51 skilled laborers who developed mysterious illnesses from open air burning at the super secret Air Force facility.
An alarming case of judicial activism just in from Steve "James Brown" Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy follows below. This ruling would dramatically expand the risks for journalists and government oversight investigators.