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Project on Government Oversight


Staff Experts

Media Contacts

To schedule an interview with one of POGO's staff experts, contact Joe Newman, Director of Communications
(202) 347-1122 or email jnewman@pogo.org





 

 

 

Danielle Brian, Executive Director

Since 1993, Danielle Brian has been the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight, a nonprofit government watchdog organization. She frequently testifies before Congress and regularly appears on or is quoted in major national media. Under Ms. Brian’s direction, POGO has conducted numerous investigations that have resulted in major public policy reforms, including:

  • Cutting Wasteful Spending. POGO’s investigations have led to the cancellation of some of the government’s largest contracts, including the Boeing tanker lease, the $13 billion Superconducting Super Collider, the $11 billion Army Crusader, and the Army’s Sergeant York DIVAD. POGO also was a leader in the fight to end production of the F-22 fighter.
  • Exposing Oil and Gas Industry Fraud on Public Lands. POGO’s groundbreaking investigations into oil and gas industry fraud on public lands led to the Justice Department’s recovery of nearly half a billion dollars, rule changes to prevent future fraud, and the dismantlement of the Minerals Management Service into separate bureaus with strengthened ethics rules.
  • Increasing Nuclear Security. POGO’s investigations into lax nuclear power plant security led to improved training and working conditions for guards. Their investigations into the U.S. nuclear weapons complex also increased security at the complex by reducing the number of vulnerable sites.

Under Ms. Brian's leadership, POGO has also worked to strengthen the government oversight infrastructure through such programs as:

  • POGO’s Congressional Oversight Training Series, monthly bi-partisan seminars that teach Capitol Hill staffers how to conduct oversight effectively and responsibly. Over 1,000 have participated since 2006.
  • Strengthening the Federal Inspectors General (IG) system, successfully pushing for reforms that bolstered both the independence and accountability of IGs.
  • Creation of a Public Government Database Tracking Contractor Performance, modeled on POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.

Ms. Brian was inducted into the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, ranked by Ethisphere magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in business ethics, and received the Smith College Medal. Ms. Brian serves on the board of Taxpayers for Common Sense, and is the Chair of the Steering Committee for OpenTheGovernment.org. She also serves on the Advisory Committee for the American University Washington College of Law Collaboration on Government Secrecy and the Selection Committee for the Ridenhour Truthteller Prizes. She received her undergraduate degree in Government from Smith College, and her Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


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 Scott Amey, General Counsel

Mr. Amey rejoined the POGO staff in 2003 and directs POGO’s Contract Oversight investigations, including reviews of federal spending on goods and services, the responsibility of top federal contractors, and conflicts-of-interest and ethics concerns that have led to questionable contract awards. Mr. Amey has testified before Congress and federal agency panels, submitted public comments on proposed regulations, educated the public by working with the media, and authored reports, alerts, and blogs on contracting issues.
 
Mr. Amey previously worked at POGO in the mid-1990s as a Research Associate, and was one of the organization’s most prolific investigators. One of his most notable projects during that time was an investigation into Area 51 that resulted in the Air Force admitting the black facility’s existence and submitting to compliance with environmental laws. Mr. Amey also undertook investigations into Boston’s Big Dig project and safety concerns at nuclear power plants. Mr. Amey left POGO in 1998 to attend law school, after which he clerked for the Honorable James A. Kenney, III, at the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland from 2001-2003. Mr. Amey received a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2001, and a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. Mr. Amey is licensed to practice law in Maryland.

Click here for hi-res photo of Mr. Amey.

 


Angela Canterbury, Director of Public Policy

Angela Canterbury, Director of Public Policy, is an experienced advocate, policy analyst, and public campaign strategist. Angela advances public policies to combat corruption and to promote openness and accountability in government. She has been instrumental in efforts that have improved the financial regulatory system, lobbying and congressional ethics rules, whistleblower protections, the Freedom of Information Act, and other open government initiatives. She has testified before Congress and been quoted or appeared in several news outlets. Prior to joining POGO, Angela served as the director of advocacy for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, and before that she worked with the League of Women Voters of the U.S. Prior to that she worked with democracy and civil society programs in Ukraine, and was formerly a campaign manager and political consultant. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, with honors and distinction.

 


John Crewdson, Senior Investigator

Areas of expertise: Medicine, Intelligence, Aviation, Terrorism, Risk

John Crewdson has worked as a journalist for over 40 years. Following his graduation from the University of California with a degree in economics, awarded with Great Distinction, Crewdson spent 13 years at the New York Times, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, followed by 28 years as a writer and editor at the Chicago Tribune and, most recently, as an investigative reporter at Bloomberg News. Among Crewdson's exclusives at the Times were stories detailing the Nixon Administration's so-called "Huston Plan," which sanctioned the use of illegal burglaries, electronic surveillance and mail openings targeted at anti-Vietnam protestors and domestic radicals, and the first account of the White House's illegal wiretapping of 17 journalists and members of the National Security Council staff. Following the Watergate scandal Crewdson covered the House and Senate investigations of the FBI and CIA that resulted in reforms of both agencies. Among his stories was a widely read three-part Times series on the CIA's use of journalists to gather intelligence, which led to the CIA's prohibition of such practices. At the Tribune Crewdson began reporting on the AIDS epidemic, using his investigative skills to unravel the ongoing dispute over whether the AIDS virus, known as HIV, had been discovered at the Pasteur Institute of Paris or the U.S. National Cancer Institute. In a 16-page, 55,000-word story published in the Tribune, Crewdson showed that the claimed discovery of HIV by NCI researcher Robert C. Gallo was bogus, a conclusion later borne out by several government investigations and acknowledged by the NCI itself. Crewdson's rewriting of scientific history garnered the George Polk Award for Medical Reporting, and resulted in the award of the Nobel Prize in medicine to the Pasteur researchers.

In 1990 Crewdson returned to Washington as the Tribune's senior correspondent. His exclusive report of fraud in a major breast cancer trial prompted the resignation of the trial's founder, famed breast cancer researcher Dr. Bernard Fisher, and led the NCI to create a new division devoted to monitoring the veracity of clinical trials. Crewdson was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Explanatory Journalism for his 10-page Tribune report on inadequate medical equipment aboard commercial airliners, which led major commercial airlines to begin carrying emergency medical kits and portable defibrillators, credited so far with saving dozens lives. Following 9/11 Crewdson devoted more than two years to unearthing the stories behind the attack. His extensive reporting on the CIA's kidnapping of a Milanese Imam named Abu Omar, nominated for yet another Pulitzer by the Tribune, resulted in Abu Omar’s release from an Egyptian prison and contributed to the convictions of more than two dozen CIA personnel on kidnapping charges.

Crewdson's awards include the Sigma Delta Chi bronze medallion, the New York Deadline Club's Goldberg award, the New York Newspaper Guild's Page One Award, the Chicago Headline Club's Peter Lisagor award, and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel award. At Bloomberg, Crewdson led a team of reporters that produced a ground-breaking report on the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, which authorized direct campaign contributions by corporations and labor unions. That story won the National Press Foundation's Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress, the National Press Club's Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis, and honorable mention for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. Crewdson and his wife Prudence have two sons and live in Bethesda, Maryland.

 


 Ned Feder MD, Staff Scientist

Before joining POGO in September 2006, Dr. Feder was a scientist at the National Institutes of Health. He came to the NIH in 1967 as the head of the Section on Biophysical Histology, conducting basic research in cell biology. In the mid-1980s he and an NIH colleague, Walter Stewart, began to study professional misconduct among biomedical researchers and found that violations of ethical standards were common. Published reports on their controversial observations drew attention in academia, in the press, and on Capitol Hill, particularly in hearings by a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In 1993, senior NIH officials directed Dr. Feder and his colleague to stop their ongoing studies of misconduct in medical research, and they were reassigned to administrative jobs unconnected with the examination of scientific misconduct. Over the years Dr. Feder has published articles in the scientific and lay press on a wide range of topics including histochemistry, cell biology, mycology, scientific misconduct, and conflicts of interest. He received an M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School in 1953 and was a faculty member of the Harvard Biology Department from 1961 to 1967. 

While at POGO, Dr. Feder has investigated and written about threats to public health in programs of the Department of Health and Human Services.

 


Benjamin Freeman, Ph.D., Investigator

Dr. Freeman, POGO’s National Security Fellow, is an expert policy analyst and political researcher that produces cutting-edge research designed to answer the most pressing policy issues of the day. He specializes in Department of Defense personnel issues, weapons procurement, and the impact of lobbying by foreign governments on U.S. foreign policy. Dr. Freeman has presented research at several national conferences, been quoted in several media outlets, and has testified before the Senate. He also utilizes his expertise as an instructor in the School of Security and Global Studies at American Military University, where he teaches research methods and analytics.

Prior to joining POGO, Dr. Freeman was an instructor in the Political Science Department and the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he taught quantitative research methods and foreign policy. He also just completed a book on lobbying by foreign governments in the U.S. titled The Foreign Policy Auction.

Dr. Freeman received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Texas A&M University, an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Florida, and a B.S. in Business Administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

 


Neil Gordon, Investigator

Neil Gordon joined POGO's Contract Oversight investigations in 2007. His chief responsibility is managing POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database. He also works with the media, submits public comments on proposed regulations, and blogs on contracting issues and other public policy matters.

Prior to joining POGO, Mr. Gordon was a researcher and writer at the Center for Public Integrity, working on the Center's investigations of prosecutors, U.S. contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, state legislators and lobbyists, and international corruption. From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Gordon practiced law in Maryland. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Delaware and a law degree from the University of Baltimore. 


 David Hilzenrath, Editor-in-Chief

David Hilzenrath joined POGO as editor-in-chief in June 2012.  Before that, he was a journalist for The Washington Post, where he wrote extensively about the intersection of business and government.

Much of Mr. Hilzenrath’s career has been devoted to investigative reporting.  At The Post, he reported on the financial crisis, the regulation of the financial industry, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the policing of Wall Street.  He has probed subjects as diverse as the finances of presidential candidates, offshore banking and money-laundering, executive compensation, the Deepwater Horizon disaster, federal tax policy, and accounting fraud.  He has written about corporate scandals from Enron and WorldCom to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bernie Madoff, and MF Global.   His reporting on systemic conflicts of interest in the auditing of Corporate America helped provide a roadmap for reform.  Mr. Hilzenrath scrutinized efforts to overhaul health care under presidents Obama and Clinton and has reported in depth on the business-driven transformation of the health care system.

He was a contributing author of Landmark: The Inside Story of America’s New Health Care Law and What It Means for Us All (Public Affairs, 2010).  His honors include the Morton Mintz Award for Investigative Reporting and the Bill Pryor Memorial Grand Prize for Writing.  He has appeared on radio and television, including NPR, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and C-SPAN.

Mr. Hilzenrath studied at the University of Michigan through the program now known as the Knight-Wallace Fellowship.  He is an honors graduate of Harvard College, where he majored in government.


Joe Newman, Director of Communications

A veteran journalist and media strategist, Mr. Newman joined POGO in January 2011. He serves as POGO spokesman and oversees the organization's media strategy, working closely with investigators and policy analysts to publicize their work across print, broadcast and online media, as well as social networks.

Before joining POGO, he served as Deputy Director of Communications at Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. At Public Citizen, he developed and implemented the organization's social media strategy, creating Public Citizen's flagship blog, Citizen Vox. He also shot and produced videos for the Web and helped develop online and email activism campaigns. An accomplished writer and editor, Mr. Newman moved to Washington, D.C. in 2007 after working many years as a reporter and editor at Florida newspapers. As a member of the Orlando Sentinel's Enterprise Reporting Team, he wrote extensively on demographics, urban design and the environment. He also wrote about local and state politics at the St. Petersburg Times and The Palm Beach Post. Mr. Newman graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Journalism and Communications.


Michael Smallberg, Investigator

Michael Smallberg was as an Everett Public Service Intern with POGO in the summer of 2006. He joined the POGO staff full-time that fall. As an investigator, Mr. Smallberg is currently examining the government's bailout programs, with a focus on excessive secrecy, a lack of accountability for the firms receiving government assistance, and conflicts of interest among bailout contractors. He is also investigating the government's financial regulatory system and formulating recommendations that would make regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission more independent and accountable. Last year, he was the major contributor to a report that highlighted POGO's top five recommendations for quickly increasing federal revenue and cutting costs, which would generate over $100 billion in revenue and savings for the government.

Mr. Smallberg has worked with the national media, including the The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on CNN. Prior to joining POGO, Mr. Smallberg interned at the National Archives. He earned a B.A. in American History from Brown University.

 


Peter Stockton, Senior Investigator

Peter Stockton, Senior Investigator, has thirty years of experience investigating waste and fraud throughout the federal government. From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Stockton served as Special Assistant to Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson as his personal troubleshooter on physical and cyber security in the nuclear weapons complex. Prior to that, for twenty-two years, Mr. Stockton was the senior investigator on the House Energy and Power and the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees of the Energy and Commerce Committee. During the 1970s, he investigated most of the major defense contractors and oil companies, the diversion of bomb-grade uranium to Israel, and the death of Karen Silkwood. In the 1980's and early 1990's, he investigated the security and effectiveness of the nuclear weapons production program and defense contractor fraud. His other investigations include the construction and operation of the Alaskan Pipeline, bribes made by U.S. corporate executives to foreign officials, and overcharging and Medicare fraud in the pharmaceutical industry. His investigations of mergers and acquisitions lead him to uncover insider trading and stock manipulation. Prior to his work in Congress, Mr. Stockton was a fiscal economist in the Bureau of the Budget in the Executive Office of the President during the Johnson Administration. He earned a Masters Degree in International Economics from Ohio State University.