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Analysis

Why We’re Holding an Oversight Summit Now

It’s fair to say there has been no time like the present.

Increasingly, Americans are calling for greater accountability from our institutions. At the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), we are privileged to be able to do more than call for more oversight: as experts, we believe we can build and strengthen a transpartisan community of oversight practitioners across government, the private sector, and civil society institutions.

That’s why we are holding the first-ever Oversight Summit on November 16, 2018.

It’s no secret that the United States is at a nadir of accountability. Congress’s efforts to hold the executive branch to account have been mostly quiet, anemic, or compromised by conflicts of interest and partisan hackery.

Meanwhile, the executive branch under President Trump has increased its reliance on some of the worst habits it developed under his predecessors, employing short-sighted gambits and misinformation to stymie efforts by Congress, the media, civil society groups, and the judiciary to bring transparency and accountability to its actions.

In the private sector, influence and resources have centralized around a handful of economic powerhouses which control the technology our society increasingly relies on to function. Those new titans chafe at calls for accountability and civic responsibility, even as their products and services are misused for antidemocratic ends.

A free and open society requires accountability from its institutions. #OversightSummit18

All Americans deserve a government that is effective, efficient, responsive, and transparent. We deserve politicians who reflect our beliefs and address our shared concerns in a transparent and accountable way. A free and open society requires accountability from its institutions.

Increasingly, oversight is being linked to the outcome of the midterm elections. We’re holding this Summit after Americans cast their ballots this November, because the issues will be just as critical then as they are now. This is about how to get answers to questions that anyone from any party can ask—and everyone, regardless of party, should want to know.

We believe that improving the quantity and quality of oversight, from all sectors, is the most important action we can take to preserve and strengthen our government, our society, and our nation.

That’s why we are hosting this Summit: to convene practitioners of oversight, from across sectors and from every point on the political spectrum, to talk about the challenges we face, the opportunities we have discovered, and to find ways to become stronger by working together.

We are honored to do this work together with talented partners like the Partnership for Public Service, Levin Center at Wayne Law, R Street Institute, Demand Progress, Open Technology Institute, The Lugar Center, and others. And we are grateful for the support from the Democracy Fund, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Lodestar Foundation.

All Americans deserve a government that is effective, efficient, responsive, and transparent.

Because these issues affect everyone, we are attempting to make the Summit as accessible as possible, livestreaming the majority of offerings and posting presentations and other material online, at no cost. We hope that these efforts make the work of POGO and our partners useful and informative to everyone who cares about these issues and wants to be part of strengthening accountability for the institutions which are meant to preserve our freedoms.

To find more information and sign up to receive details as they are available, please visit oversightsummit.org. We hope you will join us on November 16, in person or online.