Part IV. POGO: Mastering the Art of Lap-Dancing for Mega Sugar Daddies

Follow the Money …Even when it comes to NGO Mini Lap-Dogs

lapdogWe began our series with a snapshot of Mega Corporate Foundations extending their tentacles to organizations and entities involved in government watchdog practices and grassroots activism. We summarized the classic story of the transformation from Government Watchdogs to Mega-Corporate Lapdogs. We presented to you the profile of “An Ideal Watch-Dog Lap-Dog” from the perspective of a well-known Mega Corporate Foundation-Carnegie: A Government Watch-Dog Lap-Dog that is loved & cherished by the entire government. Now it is time to take a look at the profile of a mini watch-dog lap-dog: the sugar daddies pouring large sums into their panties, how much money they get, who conducts and choreographs the lap-dance shows internally, and what they show and market as ‘performance’ to the public .

Project on Government Oversight (POGO)

Like many grassroots and government watchdog entities out there POGO started small and passionate with noble intentions and objectives:

While working for the National Taxpayers Legal Fund, Dina Rasor led its investigation into the C-5A transport aircraft. In February 1981 Rasor started "Project on Military Procurement", as an arm of the Fund. The organization was intended as a watchdog group to perform oversight of the military. Early interests included the M1 Abrams tank. The Project first gained wide attention in the mid-1980s uncovering Pentagon waste and fraud by publishing reports, provided by whistleblowers, exposing $640 toilet seats, $7,600 coffee makers, $436 hammers and other overpriced spare parts used by the military. The group was renamed Project on Government Oversight in the late 1990s.

POGO’s mission was formulated and set to achieve the following noble objectives:

POGO’s range of investigations includes national defense and homeland security; abuse in government contracting; excessive secrecy that fails to consider the public good; and mismanagement of natural resources by federal agencies. POGO uses investigative journalism techniques to shed light on the government's activities, including working with whistleblowers and anonymous sources and accessing information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). ..Corporate whistleblowers and government insiders bring POGO many of its investigative topics. POGO informs the public of its findings, mainly through reports that contain extensive documentation and recommendations for how to solve the problems identified.

All sounds good, actually great, no? We are talking about an organization that would be considered a government nightmare; right? We are talking about investigating government wrongdoings (crime, fraud, abuse, cover up…). We are talking about giving voice to government whistleblowers and putting their reports into an action; aren’t we? Okay, please hold that thought as we get into how eventually the opposite occurred: Government targets began to love POGO and started letting them inside to actually partner with them in ‘governing.’ I say eventually, because that started taking place several years after this organization was formed.

POGO spent a decade or so operating under a very tight budget and within the limitation of that tight budget they actually produced a few noteworthy reports and action items. Recall our classic story of the journey from a watch-dog to a lap-dog:


watchdogThe group, emboldened by their recent success and strengthened by their newly-found public notice and support, was transformed from a loosely formed coalition with a common cause to a Watch-Dog Group. There were so many cases to tackle, so many corrupt practices to investigate, and way too many abusers to chase after; truly overwhelming. Granted, now they had some visibility that provided more clout, a certain level of public backing, and some experience - making future projects less daunting. But still. They needed more resources; more time and more manpower. So they scrambled and raised a humble amount of money from their public supporters and true believers. They turned their income-earning full-time jobs into part-time work, and spent more time on this noble cause. It was all good. It was all for the good.

POGO began pondering ways to expand and strengthen their base and reach, they needed to expand their humble operating budget, and angelic sounding and wisdom-reeking people with excellent connections and sound-sounding money-raising ideas began approaching them. These people knew the sugar daddies. These advisors knew what it took for POGO to go from tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. And they showed POGO the way, and POGO started to learn very quickly.

By 2000 POGO had reached a few hundred thousand dollar budget, and was salivating for more. And the ‘more’ was dangling right under their nose; albeit with a price tag.

In 2002, POGO received $ 432,053 in contributions. By 2003 POGO almost doubled that amount and reached $721, 547. By 2004 POGO broke over $1,000,000 (that is one million). By 2009 with total reported assets of $3,552,953.00 POGO has become the darling of the Rockefellers, George Soros, Carnegie, Ford, and of course, the United States Government- White House, Congress and all executive agencies. Take a look at this telling chart:

POGO Contribution Chart


Our financial analyst, Bill Bergman provided the following analyses:

2009 was a difficult year for the fund-raising business. Many not-for-profit organizations were hard-pressed to keep programs intact, with the pressures on donors coming amid the worst recession since the Great Depression. It wasn’t a tough year for the Project on Government Oversight, however. Total revenue more than doubled from 2008, rising from $1.4 million in 2008 to $3.5 million in 2009. Coincidentally, this was the first year for the new Obama Administration as well.


POGO’s Form 990 filings with the IRS show a large-scale decline in the organization’s ‘public support’ percentage in 2009. This line item backs out the share of contributions coming from individual donors that exceed 2% of total contributions (e.g. large individual donors), to arrive at a ‘public support’ estimate based on running five-year totals. In 2009, POGO’s five-year total ‘public support’ donations fell 2% from 2008, consistent with the difficult year, but the running five-year total for large (above 2%) donations nearly tripled, rising by $2.8 million. In turn, the ‘public support’ percentage fell sharply, from 72% in 2008 to 48% in 2009.

You may want to know more about the sources of these handsome payments to POGO. We have covered that here, but here is a brief profile of POGO’s main mega corporate-foundation sugar daddies, and what they’ve been paying POGO in the last two years:

Carnegie Corporation has paid POGO over $750,000.

George Soros has paid POGO a minimum of $700,000.

Ford Foundation has paid POGO $450,000.

Of course we have the Rockefeller Foundation and various Rockefeller family members who have been giving POGO handsome amounts. More importantly, we have bosses-donors that are classified by POGO as secret and ‘Anonymous.’ That’s right; you heard it right. POGO, who claims to investigate and report on government secrecy and cover ups is not willing to disclose a few ‘strategic’ fund-ers and keeps them classified-secret, aka anonymous. Here is an excerpt from Julia Davis:

POGO’s mission statement exclaims, “In order to preserve our independence, POGO does not accept contributions from the government, unions, corporations, or anyone with a financial stake in the outcomes of our investigations.” Obviously, there is no way POGO could guarantee that its anonymous contributors have no stake in the outcome of POGO’s investigations.

DBrianWho are these secret sugar daddies? A foundation set up by Blackwater? A foundation set up by the First Lady? No one knows. POGO doesn’t want you to know. And the three foundation sugar daddies certainly don’t want anyone to know.

You may want to ask: Where did these millions go at POGO? And the answer to that question is also very telling:

POGO Director (Lap dance Choreographer?) Danielle Brian’s ‘reportable compensation’ on the 2009 990 filing was $101,069.  Together with $19,409 in ‘estimated amount of other compensation’ (benefits), making a total of $120,000, up 10% from 2008, which was up 4% in turn from 2007. 

But wait, Danielle Brian was allowed to put her husband, Mr. Peter Stockton, on the payroll:

In POGO’s 2007 filing Danielle Brian’s husband shows up with $65,000 in ‘compensation,’ as a ‘senior investigator.’ That amount plus all the other benefits.

Interestingly, the salary information for Danielle Brian’s husband disappears after 2007 although he’s been there, receiving compensation and showing up as POGO’s face in various media reports. Our investigators contacted POGO for information on Danielle Brian’s husband’s salary, payments, and benefits and of course related perks. Despite numerous recorded phone calls and formal e-mails they were not provided with an answer or any reports or documents. POGO seems to consider this information ‘classified’ or ‘secret.’

Here is what our senior researcher Julia Davis had to report:

In 2009, salaries for the executive members of POGO reached $ 1,133,075.00. Year after year, the salary of POGO’s Executive Director, Danielle Brian, has been growing by leaps and bounds – from $ 78,852.00 in 2002 to $120,000+ in 2009 … At the same time, salaries for the majority of POGO staff are reported to be 0. Out of all POGO’s employees, Danielle Brian is the only one receiving a salary of over $100,000.00 dollars.

I want to emphasize again: In addition to the salaries and special benefits, these choreographers enjoy trips, retreats and perks provided to them by the mega sugar daddies. Let me give you an example:

In 2009 George Soros hand-picked Danielle Brian for a strategic (and quite perky) trip to Eastern Europe for her assistance in strengthening his tentacles over there. Here is a picture of Ms. Brian representing George Soros in Eastern Europe ironically titled “And here we are working hard later that evening”:


That’s right. After democratizing the USA and ending government secrecy and the persecution of government whistleblowers over here, George Soros sent Danielle Brian to democratize Eastern Europe and bring transparency to the governments over there!

In return, in addition to watchdog-turned-lapdog lap dance choreography,   executives like Danielle Brian can be counted on to provide additional ‘sugar daddy services’ outside the scope of their pseudo NGO work. Here is what Danielle Brian did when George Soros said: ‘come coochee coochee, come. Give a little yelp for my little boo boo case’:

Remember the ACORN Scandal? While Congress was trying to defund ACORN, Danielle Brian came rushing to George Soros side defending ACORN: 

The "some" who argue seem to be the Congressional Research Service (yes, they work for Nancy Pelosi) and a group called the Project on Government Oversight. Both claim that legislation defunding ACORN might be unconstitutional "bills of attainder."

"The Senate language, I think, is plainly unconstitutional," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight.

Ms. Brian is not an attorney, and her supposed legal conclusion is just flat wrong. The Constitution does prohibit bills of attainder both by Congress (Article I, section 9) and state legislatures (Article I, section 10). A bill of attainder is a legislative act that subjects a person or group to punishment, a legislature acting like a criminal court. Because ACORN has no right to future government funding, Congress's decision not to provide funding is not the same as a criminal sanction. It's simply a congressional determination about how they are going to appropriate money. The Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky provides additional analysis.

But why is a government oversight group that usually opposes questionable government spending now pushing sticks into the spokes of the effort to defund ACORN? Turns out the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) is funded by some of the same people who fund ACORN, including George Soros (Open Society Institute) and the Tides Foundation. In their last annual report, POGO called on government to "be free from conflicts of interest that undermine the integrity of their decisions." Maybe POGO needs a dose of that same medicine?

Good little pooch, good!

Let’s not forget the scandalous Transparency Award given to Obama by POGO during a secret ceremony. Again, Sugar Daddies Soros, the Rockefellers, Carnegie and Ford, and highly likely the three Anonymous-Secret POGO fund-ers must have been very pleased with that particular lap-dance from their mini lap-dog.

How about ‘performance’? Well, if you listen to the Sugar Daddies they say: Superb. As Carnegie Corporation reported: The White House, the Executive Agencies, the Congress … all love POGO; so do we. In fact, these sugar daddies liken POGO to savvy investigative journalists. Here is what we have to say on this:

POGO operates with more than a $3.5 Million annual budget.

The average salary for investigative journalists: $34,000. Let’s make that ‘seasoned’ investigative journalists and add benefits and make it $65K.

The average salary for news editors: $35K-$50K. Let’s make that “Seasoned and Savvy” and make it $85K.

The average salary for Editor in Chief jobs in New York is listed as: $60K. Let’s make ours a ‘Superb’ one at $120K.

The Average Salary for webmasters is around $55K. Let’s make ours highly experienced at $75K

For $3.5 Million you can get:

15 Full-Time Seasoned Investigative Journalists at around $1 Million

4 Seasoned Editors at $340K

1 Top Notch Editor in Chief at $120K

3 Experienced Webmasters at $225K

1 Experienced Office Manager at $75K

4 Office clerks-administrators at $120K

Appropriate Sized Office Rent in DC area at $240K

To round it up: with $3 Million you’ll get a fairly large investigative news organization targeting the federal government with10- 15 full-time seasoned reporters, 4 editors, 1 top notch editor in chief, all the website and office managers and staff, an in house attorney, an accountant, a large office with all utilities.  You can add another $500K for travel and miscellaneous, and dozens of unpaid interns to do the nitty gritty and assistance…Can you imagine the level of reporting you could get with that? You’d get an unmatched investigative organization that would issue hundreds of reports every year, and expose hundreds of government scandals involving crime, fraud, waste, abuse, bribery…

Now please go check POGO’s track record and see what they have been producing for the last few years with those millions of dollars. You see what I mean?

As Danielle Brian put it to me in 2006: “…about 75% to 80% of our time and energy is spent on fundraising, managing the funds, and relationship maintenance with our board members.” Add to that the time and effort spent on giving awards and medals and honors to the executive and legislative branch such as:

2006 - POGO’s Good Government Award - POGO honored Senator John McCain

2010- Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) received POGO's Good Government Award on Friday

2005- Senator John Cornyn receives POGO’s first Bi-Partisan Leadership Award.

2002- Representative Stephen Horn (R-CA) was presented with POGO's "Good Government Award"

2001- Philip Coyle III, former Pentagon Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, presented with POGO's "Beyond the Headlines Award",

2006 - POGO’s Good Government Award - POGO honored Representative Henry Waxman

2005- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) receives POGO’s first Bi-Partisan Leadership Award.

2010- POGO presents Representative Carolyn Maloney with POGO’s 2010 Good Government Award.

…and the list goes on…and even the President with the worst record in presidential history on transparency and government whistleblowers gets to receive an award from POGO albeit in secrecy!

$3.5+ Million to perform lap dances for mega sugar daddies, hand out awards, and offer one or two itsy bitsy reports. Keep watching this pet project of the mega corporations as it grows in budget, shrinks in performance, and remains the poster lap-dance fool for the megas.

Project on Government Oversight, a Government Watchdog turned Lap-Dog, provided to you by the Mega Corporate Foundations, giving you the illusion of activism, manufacturing consent, and fooling unknowing and trusting government whistleblowers.

# # # #

*Our investigative researchers and analysts Julia Davis & Bill Bergman have contributed to this series.

Previous Chapters in our Series:

Part I. The Tentacles of Megas

Part II. The Journey From Watch0Dogs to Lap-Dogs

Part III. A Watch-Dog for All Seasons

Video: The EyeOpener: Who Watches The Watchdogs?

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  1. camusrebel says:

    awesome series Sibel. Soros seems to have his paws in a lot of pies.

    Some have suggested he is behind Murdoch’s recent troubles, (not the pie-in-the -face) in a power struggle. Do you read Gordon Duff at Veterans Today? Great recent piece on Murdoch status as an arch Zionista.

    And, continuing to veer slightly off-topic(sorry) I would very much like your opinion of Wayne Madsen. The Turkish site(newspaper?) Begun has a piece about Mossad hit jobs that uses Madsen as a main reference. The link from his site to the story is in Turkish. Would it be asking too much for you to read it and comment? I believe it appeared on June 26.

    or if anyone knows of an english translation, even better.


    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  2. The citizens in the U.S. face many threats. Some are manufactured, such as a recent Soviet threat I read by Peter Earley recording master spy Sergei Tretyakov. The only thing current that I could tell was the fact that the Soviets continue to compete with us for global dominance. Anything close to modern technology such as the HAARP system or the Romas/Coin – Odyssey surveillance are far beyond the threat level presented by Earley with permission of CIA/FBI.
    Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are so transparent that criminals such as Aaron Barr can manipulate unsuspecting students. Research the following information and express to those higher up that Obama has drastically reduced our basic constitutional freedoms and the likelihood of remaining a nation that honors free speech has nearly disappeared. Keywords to research: CINDER, Larry Strang, Northrup Grumman Odyssey contract – $10.8 billion, SAIC, AT&T is the NSA’s prime telecommunications – Mark Klein, Dubai-based firm SocialEyez & Alterian, Archimedes firm in Tampa,

    The target of such sinister operations are the American people and world public opinion. POGO is meant to distract us from these business deals that sacrifice the American people.

  3. Pow – right in the kisser. Good job Sibel, Julia, and Bill.

    POGO, where is your response? Are you reading this? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

  4. GreenMango says:

    Not to absolve anyone of blame but the POGO story seems to highlight the fact that we are all susceptible to corrosive forces. I think realizing this fact is crucial in preventing ourselves from walking down this all too familiar and corrupt path. It’s truly tragic when we become the very thing we are fighting against. However, it’s never too late for redemption.

  5. Related to what GreenMango said: Here’s Ralph Nader talking to two billionaires about moving from charity to justice.

  6. GreenMango says:

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