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Project on Government Oversight


Government Corruption

Today, the federal government is more vulnerable than ever to the influence of powerful special interests. The basic obligations of public service are undermined when an official maintains a close relationship with an industry that he or she is overseeing or regulating. The integrity of government is further jeopardized by public officials who use the resources of their office for personal, professional, or financial gain. POGO supports transparency and open government so that officials can be held accountable when they place private interests ahead of the public good.  Click on the program areas below to learn more. 
 
Conflicts of Interest
Conflicts of interests often arise due to the cozy relationship between public officials and companies that do business with the government.  Public confidence in the integrity of government is sorely undermined when officials use (or appear to use) their office for personal, professional, or financial gain.  POGO supports increased requirements for transparency and disclosure, along with stricter enforcement of current rules and regulations, as a means of identifying and eliminating conflicts of interest and restoring the public’s faith in government.   

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Resources 
Government ethics is one of the most important, but often overlooked, aspects of executive and congressional branch oversight. Recent ethics and conflict of interest scandals involve the revolving door between the government and private contractors, “bribe menus,” inappropriate contract awards, and illegal lobbying – simply stated, government corruption. That corruption leads to bad deals for the government, taxpayers, and military members. This web page will provide you with many online resources.

Improper Influence
The basic obligations of public service are undermined when an official maintains a close relationship with an industry that he or she is overseeing or regulating.  The integrity of government is further jeopardized by public officials who use the resources of their office for personal, professional, or financial gain.  POGO supports transparency and open government so that officials can be held accountable when they place private interests ahead of the public good.
 
Politicization
There are several laws in place that are supposed to prohibit public officials from engaging in political activity while serving in office.  However, in recent years there have been numerous examples of federal agencies using taxpayer funds to persuade the public to lobby Congress in support of the Executive Branch’s political agenda.  Congress needs to draw a stronger line between public education and illegal lobbying in order to ensure that the federal government is not betraying the public’s trust by spending taxpayer funds on advertising and propaganda campaigns. 
 
Revolving Door
POGO is concerned that far too many officials are passing through the “revolving door,” taking advantage of their public service to further their private employment.  The federal government is struggling to retain skilled public servants in part because so many individuals use their office as a stepping stone to the private sector.  POGO has a number of recommendations for limiting the harmful effect of the revolving door: simplify and strengthen the existing rules and regulations; require greater disclosure of individuals leaving the government to work for industries they had previously overseen; and conduct a review of the benefits, incentives, and rewards for staying in the public sector versus performing the same work as a government contractor.