Since our founding in 1981, POGO has continued to grow, taking on new programs and entering into partnerships as we’ve expanded our effort to build a healthier democracy. Our projects and partnerships work in concert to expose problems in the federal government, develop reforms to address those problems and prevent similar abuses in the future, and champion change.
Projects and Partnerships
Center for Defense Information
The Center for Defense Information at POGO aims to build a far more effective national security policy at a significantly lower cost. Since 1971, CDI has been fighting to build the most pragmatic national security strategy possible, regardless of politics, partisanship, or parochial interests. Since it joined POGO in 2012, CDI has advocated for a sensible defense budget, pushing Congress and the Pentagon toward policies that best serve the needs of our nation and the members of our armed services, not the interests of corporations or their shareholders.
Congressional Oversight Initiative
POGO’s Congressional Oversight Initiative supports and enhances Congress’s ability to conduct effective oversight by offering trainings and resources to hundreds of congressional oversight staff each year. This nonpartisan initiative uses POGO's unique expertise to bring Republican and Democratic staff together for trainings, seminars, and other opportunities to connect with one another and with experts from both parties.
The Constitution Project
The Constitution Project at POGO seeks to safeguard our constitutional rights when the government exercises power in the name of national security and domestic policing, including ensuring our institutions serve as a check on that power. Established in 1997, The Constitution Project joined with POGO in 2017. Throughout that time, it has brought together people of diverse experiences and political philosophies to forge consensus-based solutions to some of the most difficult constitutional questions of the day.
Open The Government
Open The Government, which joined with POGO in 2022, is a coalition of groups around the country that advocate for transparency and accountability in the federal government. At POGO, Open The Government prioritizes advancing open government reforms that foster equity outcomes, with a focus on racial equity, and continues to support coalition members around the country. Explore Open The Government’s current advocacy actions.
Awarded annually, the Ridenhour Prizes recognize those who persevere in acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice, or illuminate a more just vision of society. These prizes memorialize the spirit of fearless truth-telling that whistleblower and investigative journalist Ron Ridenhour reflected throughout his extraordinary life and career. POGO is one of several strategic partners to the Ridenhour Prizes. Learn more at Ridenhour.org.
Now in our fifth decade, POGO has always prioritized transparency and accountability. To that end, we’ve led several years-long research projects, collecting and publishing data to help us ensure our government works for all of us, not just the powerful and well-connected.
COVID Relief Spending Tracker
In 2020, POGO launched a comprehensive tracker for COVID relief spending to make it easier to see where the government went wrong and where priorities for future funding packages must lie. The COVID Relief Spending Tracker includes 29.5 million transactions across dozens of agencies and hundreds of government programs, and allows users to explore spending by state, program, industry, and more. The tool is no longer being updated, but you can still explore past spending data through the tracker.
Federal Contractor Misconduct Database
For 20 years, POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database showed the government a relatively simple and inexpensive way to strengthen federal contractor accountability. The databse made it easy to see past misconduct by federal contractors. It has long been our hope that the federal government would create a contractor accountability portal, but that has not happened. POGO retired the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database in 2022. Although we no longer maintain this database, we will continue to monitor federal contracting and misconduct. The underlying data will be made available upon request to [email protected].
Pentagon Revolving Door Database
This database, which was retired in 2023, tracked senior Pentagon officials and military officers who have gone to work for Pentagon contractors, lobbying firms, and consultants trying to win Department of Defense contracts. This practice is commonly referred to as the “revolving door,” and it can potentially lead to favoritism, ineffective weapons and programs, bad deals, and misguided foreign policy. While this database is no longer active, POGO remains committed to tracking and slowing the revolving door between the Pentagon and the private sector. The underlying data will be made available upon request to [email protected].
Inspector General Vacancy Tracker
For nearly 10 years, POGO operated a database to keep tabs on the number of inspector general vacancies in the federal government. Offices of Inspector General serve as independent watchdogs within federal agencies and are essential to a well functioning federal government, but these offices too often operate without permanent leaders. POGO started the tracker to help push the government to fill these crucial positions with greater urgency. The government has since launched its own inspector general vacancy tracker, leading POGO to retire its database. You can find the government’s tracking effort at oversight.gov/ig-vacancies.