Holding the Government Accountable

The Problem

The Problem

Accountability is vital to a functioning democracy. Without it, we can’t ensure the government is serving the public interest or representing the will of the people. But in recent years, public trust in government has spiraled, and now it’s reached alarming lows. We’re facing a growing authoritarian threat — and the last few years have shone a spotlight on the need for better guardrails and stronger accountability measures. We have to recognize wrongdoing in our institutions in order to make things right. In fighting to protect whistleblowers and build up accountability measures, POGO is working to create a government worthy of the public’s trust.

Collage of the U.S. Capitol building, the Constitution, and people going about their day-to-day lives
Our Priorities

Our Priorities

To strengthen accountability, we’re focused on protecting those who can check government power from within by alerting the public to wrongdoing — or preventing it from happening in the first place.

  1. Protecting Whistleblowers and Civil Servants

    Protecting Whistleblowers and Civil Servants

    We rely on federal government employees to ensure programs are operating with integrity. POGO is advocating for reforms to better protect federal employees from political interference and retaliation for sounding the alarm on wrongdoing.

    Collage of a whistle, money, silhouetted figures, and text from the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act
  2. Strengthening Government Watchdogs

    Strengthening Government Watchdogs

    Inspectors general shine a light on government activities and expose problems to Congress and the public. POGO is working to better empower these watchdogs, who are vital to strong accountability in government.

    Collage of government buildings, fragments of legislative text, and a group of business people
What's at Stake?

What's at Stake?

Accountability Stops Authoritarianism — but It’s in Short Supply

When government officials or agencies don’t fear consequences, they can act with impunity, trampling on civil liberties, suppressing dissent, and engaging in authoritarian practices.

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The President Can Fire Watchdogs for Political Reasons

Strong accountability in government relies heavily on the role of inspectors general as internal watchdogs — but currently, they are vulnerable to the political whims of the president.

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Whistleblowers Lack Sufficient Safeguards against Retaliation

While their disclosures are crucial to exposing problems within our government, whistleblowers are currently incentivized to stay silent. Stronger protections would ensure they feel safe to sound the alarm on wrongdoing.


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