Nick Schwellenbach

Senior Investigator


Areas of Expertise

Office of Special Counsel (OSC), whistleblower issues, intelligence community, FOIA

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Nick Schwellenbach rejoined POGO in February 2017. Previously, he was the communications director at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the main federal agency in charge of protecting whistleblowers, during a period when it won bipartisan praise for restoring trust in the agency. He was POGO’s director of investigations from 2010 to 2012 and from 2017 to 2019, and was an investigator from 2004 through 2008. He also was a senior fiscal policy analyst with the Center for Effective Government, a staff writer with the Center for Public Integrity, and a reporter-research for Harvard University's Nieman Watchdog. Nick received his B.A. in history from the University of Texas-Austin and his M.A. in journalism from American University. He has been published in The Washington Post, TIME Magazine, The Daily Beast, Yahoo News, Mother Jones, Texas Observer, and other media outlets.

Nick’s work for POGO on excessive secrecy covering up serious misconduct by Justice Department attorneys won the Society of Professional Journalists-D.C. Chapter’s Robert D.G. Lewis Watchdog Award in 2015, its highest prize. An investigative article he co-wrote with Peter Stockton for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on the risks of poorly secured nuclear materials was listed as an honorable mention in the book, Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007. He has led investigations into dangerous conditions inside immigrant detention centers, the revolving door at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), labor trafficking by the U.S. military’s subcontractors in Iraq, whistleblower retaliation across numerous agencies, mismanagement of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35 program, faulty missile defense systems, and many other topics.

Latest Work