Open Government Program Manager
Year started at POGO: 2015
Areas of expertise: Open Government, Government Accountability, Freedom of Information Act, Contractor Oversight, Ethics
Sean Moulton is the Open Government Program Manager at POGO and oversees the effort to develop a “blueprint” the next president can use to build a more open and accountable administration.
Before joining POGO, Sean worked for over a decade on transparency and government accountability issues, with special attention to freedom of information issues, spending transparency, and environmental right-to-know policies. He has authored reports, testified before Congress, submitted comments on proposed regulations, and helped launch public disclosure websites. He has spoken on open government issues extensively with the media, having appeared on C-SPAN, NPR, ABC, and NBC and being quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other major news publications.
- In 2013, in the aftermath of the West, Texas, catastrophe he testified before Congress on the importance of public awareness of chemical plants and the risks they pose to communities.
- He directed a two-year project to produce government transparency recommendations for the incoming Obama Administration that were endorsed by hundreds of organizations across the country.
- He co-directed development of FedSpending.org, a groundbreaking website that opened trillions of dollars in federal spending to public scrutiny and handled millions of public searches. The site was the precursor to the government’s USAspending.gov effort.
Sean led the Center for Effective Government’s open government work for 13 years. He has also worked at Friends of the Earth, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Council on Economic Priorities. In 2011 Sean was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and English from Albright College.
Inspectors General throughout the government are releasing the results of the first government-wide audit of federal spending data, and they are uncovering big problems.
In the Trump administration, the regulators have been tasked to be de-regulators and their efforts have been plagued by secrecy, limited public involvement, and close ties with industry, which is leading to imbalanced results tilted toward special interests.
POGO joined 26 groups concerned about transparency and accountability urging the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to improve the transparency and usability of its data.
The Trump Administration hides behind national security as it reasons for not proactively releasing White House Visitor Logs. This is another leap in the wrong direction in the fight to clean up Washington and the federal government.
The federal government could learn a lot from the states on contract transparency. Two thirds of the states proactively post at least some of their contract documents right on their spending websites. Despite spending hundreds of billions through contracts each year, the federal government still hasn't begun posting any contracts on USASpending.gov.
The Project On Government Oversight urges the next President to aggressively engage on problems that have plagued our federal government for years – waste, corruption, delay, ineffectiveness. Accountability and transparency offer solutions that will rebuild public confidence and establish a more open, honest, and democratic government.
Wanna hear POGO's take on Trump's taxes and Hillary's emails?
POGO supports the government moving away from using proprietary company IDs and establishing a system that will better track who is getting federal contract awards and assistance spending.
The EPA’s claims its new science policy will increase transparency, but it will actually severely limit the scientific information the agency can use to keep the public safe.
The Trump Administration wants to add an untested question about citizenship to the 2020 census, but including it could reduce the accuracy of the data—data that we use to apportion Congressional seats to the states and to direct hundreds of billions in federal funds.
Despite months of the President railing against regulations, a new government report concludes that benefits of regulations vastly outweigh the costs.
A controversial pick for a top Census Bureau job has withdrawn. Strong nonpartisan leadership is needed at the Bureau to ensure the 2020 census goes well.
Congress gave us a temporary reprieve from a government shutdown, but the possibility it could still happen remains. A federal shutdown would have more impact than you might think.
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) established a new certification that tracks presidential appointees’ ethics compliance, which will be posted online. The move should create greater accountability when it comes to appointees’ ethics commitments.
President Trump should focus on making regulations better or improving the regulatory process. Regulations provide enormous benefits to all of us. For example, they ensure that prescription drugs and other products are safe for the public.
The Project On Government Oversight and the National Security Archive are seeking the input of anyone that has requested government agency records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The survey is open until the end of February. Results will be used to inform the work of the FOIA Federal Advisory Committee.
President Trump’s “one-in, two-out” Executive Order on regulations could bring rulemaking to a grinding halt and shortsightedly ignores the benefits from regulations.
If the White House is issuing gag orders to prevent employees at federal agencies from communicating with Congress and the public, it could be illegal and represent a serious threat to public health and safety.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal to expand a toxic pollution reporting program—the Toxics Release Inventory program—to include natural gas processing plants. The proposed rule is an important win for open government as it will increase public awareness of environmental impacts associated with these natural gas facilities, and will likely motivate companies to reduce toxic releases.
The House Appropriations Committee voted against posting Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports online for the public.
A new bill introduced in Congress would require that Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports be posted online by the Government Printing Office so the public would finally have easy, free access to the informative materials.
To track the recipients of taxpayer dollars, the government has been paying millions each year to rent a system from the private sector. But that monopoly may soon be ending.
Congress deserves credit for finally passing permanent health care benefits for 9/11 responders as 2015 was winding down.
Congress lets funding for 9/11 medical assistance for first responders expire, which is just the latest in a series of poor government actions around health and safety issues surrounding the 9/11 attacks.
Bipartisan protest demanded the removal of anti-transparency language from Wisconsin's state budget bill.
Congressional Research Service reports belong in the public domain.
Mixed reviews for Oregon public records law draftThe Bulletin | By