|The guy in charge of directing regulatory policy on chemicals for a huge |
conglomerate is given a top position at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Toxic Avenger: Did EPA Appointee Do Industry Employer’s Bidding?Imagine the following scenario: The guy in charge of directing regulatory policy on chemicals for a huge conglomerate is given a top position at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Once there, he participates in sidelining a long-awaited study on a suspected carcinogenic chemical produced by his former employer—and only recuses himself from the matter after the fact.
EPA ethics officials allowed David Dunlap, former head of regulatory policy for Koch Industries, to participate in selecting which chemicals to evaluate for health dangers after Dunlap started work as the number-two administrator of the EPA’s main science office last October. That selection process resulted in the EPA halting a study on formaldehyde nearly two decades in the making.
This Week at POGOMedical Neglect at a Denver Immigration JailAn internal ICE review of one inmate’s death found there were major deficiencies in his medical care for severe opioid withdrawal before his death, according to a source who viewed the document.Read more
How Not to Win the Afghan WarAfghanistan’s ability to defend itself is being hurt by an American effort to help. The Pentagon is shipping UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to Afghanistan faster than it can train the pilots and mechanics needed to operate them.Read more
PODCAST: Classifying John Boyd with Chuck SpinneyMilitary scholars’ attempts to classify John Boyd as an airpower theorist are misguided, according to one of his closest collaborators.Read more
Upcoming: #POGOchat on SurveillanceJoin us on May 29th from 2 to 3 pm EST for the #POGOchat on surveillance, featuring our Senior Counsel for The Constitution Project at POGO, Jake Laperruque, Investigator Andrea Peterson, and members of The Constitution Project’s task force of experts and stakeholders from law enforcement, civil society, academia, and the tech sector.Follow POGO on Twitter
ICYMIICYMI: New Resources for Federal EmployeesWe’re excited to unveil new resources to educate and empower federal sector employees on their options when witnessing wrongdoing.
Explore our new site Support Nonpartisan ReportingBecoming a monthly supporter helps us continue our most critical work. Will you be a guardian of our democracy by donating monthly?Donate Now POGO in the News The New York TimesAmazon Faces Investor Pressure Over Facial Recognition Amazon, in contrast, recently pitched its facial recognition services to Immigration And Customs Enforcement, according to company emails obtained under open records law by the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit group based in Washington. The Washington PostBlasting facial-recognition technology, lawmakers urge regulation before it ‘gets out of control’ Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at The Constitution Project at the watchdog group Project On Government Oversight, said the hearing “showed a strong bipartisan support for limit facial recognition surveillance, and doing so promptly. Unrestricted facial recognition is widespread and affects hundreds of millions of Americans, but it is clearly not sustainable.“ PoliticoTrump’s ‘most transparent president’ claim looks cloudy Watchdog groups said accessibility alone isn’t enough to claim the transparency mantle.
“I don’t think that’s meaningful transparency,” said Liz Hempowicz, public policy director at the Project on Government Oversight, adding that the true transparency requires a government-wide commitment across federal agencies.
Hempowicz and other experts noted that the lack of transparency at federal agencies has massive consequences for the public, but often gets less attention than Trump’s headline-grabbing statements.
[…] “It’s unwise for a president to make a statement like that” unless he can back it up, Hempowicz said of Obama’s boast, noting that good government groups criticized the 44th president throughout his time in office. “It makes it very easy for us to push back.” E&E NewsThis Interior official sees ‘national bias’ against oil, gas Interviewer:
There’s a report from the Project on Government Oversight saying the new rule may be a legal target because of a late addition [Energywire, May 15]. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Scott Angelle, head of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement:
We are confident we followed the process, and we are confident that we will be victorious in any challenges associated with that. Politico Pro (paywall)The Pentagon’s budget credibility problem “This is yet again providing an argument on a silver platter that Congress needs to reduce the Pentagon’s budget, not increase it,” argued Mandy Smithberger of the Project on Government Oversight. The National InterestIt’s Official: The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Is a Complete Failure The Littoral Combat Ship program has been unnecessarily complicated from the beginning,” the Project on Government Oversight explained in 2016. “Initially the Navy aimed for each ship to cost $220 million, but the Government Accountability Office estimates procurement costs for the first 32 ships is currently about $21 billion, or about $655 million per ship—nearly triple what they were supposed to cost.”
“The program’s three mission packages, according to the latest select acquisition report, add about $7.6 billion.”
In the decade and a half since the program was first sold to Congress, the LCS has already been forced into multiple major program changes, initially driven by large cost overruns, the lack of combat survivability and lethality discovered during operational testing and deployments, the almost crippling technical failures and schedule delays in each of the three mission modules.
Now the Navy has announced it is abandoning the two fundamental concepts behind the program: a multi-mission ship with swappable mission modules and a radically new way of manning it. Instead, each LCS hull will have a single mission and a significantly larger crew assigned a single primary skill set. E&E NewsInterior defends use of API standard in revised rules The revised rule replaced the margin set by the Obama administration in response to that Gulf blowout with API Bulletin 92L, the trade group’s “case-by-case” measure that allows drilling to continue in certain circumstances where pressure is lost.
“It shows that, on a major issue of public safety, the federal regulator is dependent on and deferring to a lobbying organization for the very industry it is regulating,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight.
[…] For a rule saving the industry an estimated $1.5 billion, POGO’s Brian added: “It speaks volumes [Interior] can’t or won’t explain how this industry standard was developed and what evidence, if any, the government considered before giving it the force of law.” ReasonAre We Seeing Early Signs of a Facial Recognition Technopanic? In any case, the San Francisco board’s ban does not apply to private uses of facial recognition technology, only to law enforcement and other city agencies. Back in March, I cited the nonpartisan watchdog Project On Government Oversight’s (POGO) report called Facing the Future of Surveillance that outlines the dangers to liberty posed by this technology. The POGO report’s recommendations for limiting potential government abuse of this technology included the requirement that the government obtain a probable-cause warrant whenever it seeks to use facial recognition to identify an individual. Due to the high risk of misidentification, POGO also called for an indefinite moratorium on incorporating real-time facial recognition systems into police body cameras.
The report also recommends that the government should not be permitted to regularly scan locations and events, tag every individual without identifying them by name, save and update these profiles, and then use this stockpile of data to match a recorded profile once an individual becomes a person of interest. Creation of mass databases of these “metadata profiles” would severely undermine privacy and would risk chilling public participation in sensitive activities.
[…] Despite decrying an alleged “technopanic,” [Mercatus Center’s Adam] Theirer basically ends up agreeing with the POGO report’s recommendations for forestalling possible abuse of facial recognition by law enforcement. Jane’s 360US Air Force confirms plan to buy six light attack aircraft Dan Grazier, military fellow with the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) watchdog group in Washington, DC, believes the USAF performing market research for a variety of light attack aircraft types demonstrates the service is working on the behalf of the defence industry. Kansas City StarKansas agency laid off dozens of employees last year. Now it wants them back Neil Gordon, an investigator with the Washington, D.C.-based Project on Government Oversight, said canceling contracts can lead to costly litigation when the government tries to settle up payment claims.
“CGI, being a relatively large company, could probably tie this matter up in the courts for years, if it wants to, which will unfortunately inflict further damage on Kansas taxpayers,” Gordon said. Federal TimesTo limit leaks to the public, Senate panel takes step to better protect whistleblowers Currently, whistleblowers – those who report agency mismanagement, ethical violations or violations of law – can appeal to the inspectors general of their agencies or to the congressional intelligence committees, but even if their reports are found to be valid, they often are ostracized, demoted or otherwise forced out of government.
“It comes down to not creating the proper incentive for whistleblowers to use internal channels in the intelligence community,” said Liz Hempowicz, director of public policy at the Project on Government Oversight.
Included in the Intelligence Authorization Act approved May 14 by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the provision helps intelligence whistleblowers find support within what Hempowicz calls a “complicated” system. For example, they are provided with resources to identify attorneys who can view classified documents – a potential solution to situations where a whistleblower’s lawyer cannot access the classified material at issue for their clients.. Ron WydenWyden Introduces Bill to Protect Campaigns, State Parties From Foreign Hackers Jake Laperruque, Senior Counsel, The Constitution Project, the Project on Government Oversight: “We are proud to endorse the Federal Campaign Cybersecurity Assistance Act. This bill will help shield our elections against the threats they face from malicious actors, and stop cyberattacks from undermining our democracy. Congress needs to be working continuously to improve our election systems, and we applaud Senator Wyden for his work to do so.” Pasadena NowJury Trial Underway in Caltech Whistleblower Case Roumi’s is not the first whistleblower retaliation lawsuit to which Caltech has been subjected.
According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), in 2014, Sandra Troian, a professor at Caltech, filed a complaint saying she had been retaliated against for telling the Federal Bureau of Investigation about a researcher who sent restricted data to Israel and then went public with it.
The retaliation, Troian alleged, entailed being falsely accused of research misconduct, being prevented from participating in campus events, and the denial of more than $1 million in grant funds.
The final disposition of that case is still pending, according to POGO. Who What WhyJames Baker’s FBI Redemption Tour “I’ve been astounded to see how quickly many of my colleagues have morphed into defenders of the FBI,” Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, told WhoWhatWhy. The Real News NetworkTrump’s 2020 Military Budget Is $500 Billion More Than He Claims Contrary to popular belief, Trump’s military budget proposal for 2020 is far higher than the official numbers would suggest. According to one estimate, it is actually $500 billion, or 40 percent, higher. That is, according to the numbers Trump submitted to Congress. He’s asking for $750 billion in military spending for 2020, which is already $34 billion more than 2019. However, according to an analysis by William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger, the actual defense budget is closer to $1.25 trillion.
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