US Embassy sponsored seminar with Procurement Watch, Inc
Our live blogging team today is composed of:
9:15 am Opening Remarks by Atty Amador Astudillo, President of Procurement Watch Incorporated
Procurement Watch monitors the bidding and procurement process for government institutions. PWI works with other organizations in monitoring procurement.
“The time for change is now. Let us seize the moment.”
9:20 am Speaker is Mr. Scott H. Amey, the General Counsel of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO – http://www.pogo.org)
NGOs should be vigilant because it is an issue of public funds. This is our money. “It’s not government money. It’s our money.”
POGO was founded in 1981 by Pentagon Insiders. It oversees federal agencies, Congress, and government contractors. POGO works with insiders and whistleblowers.
It’s not just about exposing the problem, but also finding the solution.
Whistle blower protection and the Freedom of Information Act will be good tools to strengthen the work of procurement watch.
POGO uses investigative journalism techniques working with whistleblowers, anonymous sources and journalists through FOIA.
- identify systemic corruption
- launch independent investigations
- promote positive change
- inform public
- work with the govt for improvements
- demand a more accountable govt
Making Change: By applying internal & external pressure through the media, the public, govt insiders, and policy makers, POGO helps ensure that the federal govt implements policies & programs in a manner that benefits all Americans.
Independence. Integrity. Reputation. Credibility.
We name names.
Areas of Interest
- Contract Oversight
- Financial Oversight
- Good Government
- Government Corruption
- Government Oversight
- Government Secrecy
- Homeland Security
- National Security
- Natural Resources
- Nuclear Security & Safety
- Public Health
- Whistleblower Issues
- Whistleblowers: usually comes with a stigma
- slow govt
- political wrangling
- burdening govt
- costs of good govt
- preventing innovation
Funding: Do not accept any govt, union or corporate contributions nor funds from anyone with a financial interest in the outcome of our investigations.
It’s more important who we DO NOT accept money from.
Churches might be a place where you can get money from.
Federal Contract Oversight
“Men must turn square corners when they deal with the Government.” – USA Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Every citizen is entitled to have complete confidence in the integrity of his government.” – US President Johnson
Problems in Federal Contracting System
- Spending has grown tremendously
- Spending on services outpaces goods
- Lax procurement laws
- Oversight has decreased
- Acquisition workforce is strecthed thin
- Abdication of functions to private industry
- The politics of contracting
Contracting Reality in US
- Inadequate Competition
- Deficient accountability
- Lack of Transparency
- Risky Contracting Vehicles
Transformations in the Federal Workforce
- Steady since 2000 despite the dramatic increase in federal contract spending
- Contractors are performing jobs once performed by public servants
- What does a BLENDED WORKFORCE mean as far as costs and control of govt policy, planning, and programs?
The Politics of Contracting: “American taxpayers have witnessed a series of corporate mega-mergers that have transformed large govt contractors into a small universe of formidable policy, planning, program, financial support, lobbying, and influence-peddling machines.”
POGO: “We sink our teeth into an issue and don’t let go.”
Tie old issues and problems with new ones.
1:30 pm Resumption of seminar
Promoting Good Government from the Outside
What to Ask?
- What are we buying?
- What mission will we accomplish?
- Who is involved in the decision?
- Contracting Reform
- Improved Transparency
- Enhanced Access to Govt/Contractor Records
- Preventing Conflicts of Interest
- Stronger Whistleblower Protections
“Transparency is where it starts.”
Fourth question: HOW ARE WE BUYING IT?
- types of contracts
- level of competition
Working Against — Vested Interests
- Industry Associations
- Government Personnel
- Members of Congress
“Working for POGO is great because the staff has the ability to make positive changes, free from political interference. Coming to work isn’t about collecting a paycheck; there is an integrity in protecting the public which keeps me excited about coming in.” -Scott Amey, POGO General Counsel