Holding the Government Accountable

POGO Wins Journalism Prizes

The Project On Government Oversight won prizes Tuesday for business journalism and investigative reporting.

The Dateline Awards were conferred by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Washington, D.C., chapter.

POGO’s Michael Smallberg won a business news prize for a report titled “Dangerous Liaisons,” which explored the revolving door between Wall Street and its regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission. "Eye-opening report on an agency supposed to protect us from the next financial meltdown," the judges wrote.

POGO’s Adam Zagorin and David Hilzenrath won an investigative reporting award for “Embassy (In)security,” a package of articles about persistent vulnerabilities at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan and problems related to the outsourcing of diplomatic security to private contractors. “Top-rate reporting” and an “important story,” the judges said.

Both awards were for reporting by Websites.

The first of the Embassy (In)security stories, “A ‘Mutiny’ in Kabul: Guards Allege Security Problems Have Put Embassy at Risk,” was published jointly with ForeignPolicy.com.

In “Dangerous Liaisons,” POGO reported that former employees of the SEC routinely help corporations try to influence SEC rulemaking, counter the agency’s investigations of suspected wrongdoing, soften the blow of SEC enforcement actions, block shareholder proposals, and win exemptions from federal law. The report was based in part on thousands of records, many of them obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Since the report was published, the SEC and the U.S. Office of Government Ethics have addressed one of the issues POGO spotlighted by eliminating an exemption from ethics rules for certain SEC employees.

For the same work, Smallberg was previously named a finalist for a "Best in Business" award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.