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Top Rated

Project on Government Oversight (POGO)

CharityWatch report issued
October 2021

Top-Rated Charity
CharityWatch Grade
Our independent grade based
on a number of factors.
Program Percentage
Amount spent on programs
relative to overhead.
Cost to Raise $100
Amount spent to raise
$100 of contributions.

Contact Information

Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
1100 G Street NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005

Other Names


Tax Status




Stated Mission

Nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.

View similar charities
Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 12/31/2020

Program Percentage: 83%

The percentage of Project on Government Oversight (POGO)'s cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $9

How many dollars Project on Government Oversight (POGO) spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

Project on Government Oversight (POGO)'s rating was adjusted for Joint Costs. If you are a donor who considers direct mail, telemarketing, and other Joint Cost solicitations to be true charitable programs, the below efficiency ratios, which were not adjusted for joint costs, may better reflect your goals.

Program % Cost to Raise $100
84% $8
Accounting rules allow charities to report some telemarketing, direct mail, and other solicitation costs as Program expenses. CharityWatch believes that most donors do not consider a charity's solicitation activities to be the Programs they are intending to support with their donations. We therefore adjust such expenses out of a charity's reported Program expense and add it to Fundraising expense prior to calculating its rating.

Government Funding

0% to 24%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
Project on Government Oversight Audited Financial Statements 52-1739443
Project on Government Oversight IRS Form 990 52-1739443
Entity: Project on Government Oversight
Document Type: Audited Financial Statements
Tax ID: 52-1739443
Entity: Project on Government Oversight
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 52-1739443

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
This charity is Top-Rated
What does it mean to be Top-Rated?
Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
meets governance benchmarks.
Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
meets transparency benchmarks.
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy

  Name Title Compensation
1 Danielle Brian President/Executive Director $191,862
2 Keith Rutter Executive Operating Officer $171,251
3 Scott Amey General Counsel $162,942
Name: Danielle Brian
Title: President/Executive Director
Compensation: $191,862
Name: Keith Rutter
Title: Executive Operating Officer
Compensation: $171,251
Name: Scott Amey
Title: General Counsel
Compensation: $162,942

CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.

CharityWatch's rating of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) is for the 501(c)(3) public charity (tax ID #52-1739443). The rating does not include the financial activities of POGO's related 501(c)(4) tax-exempt, social welfare organization, POGO Action (tax ID #81-1092790).

According to the POGO audit of December 31, 2020 (Note 10, POGO Action, Inc.):

"Due to restrictions placed on Section 501(c)(3) organizations, POGO Action Inc. (POGO Action) was created as a 501(c)(4) organization. POGO Action is organized for purposes of social welfare, including but not limited to conducting research, publicizing findings and advocating for a more effective, accountable, open and ethical Federal government...

"POGO and POGO Action entered into a Sharing Agreement in February 2016. Certain members of management and the Board of Directors of POGO also serve as management and members of the Board of Directors of POGO Action, respectively."

CharityWatch does not provide a separate rating for POGO Action at this time due to its relative small size.

CharityWatch separates the ratings for 501(c)(3) & 501(c)(4) organizations, even when such organizations are included together in a consolidated audit, due to their differing treatments under the IRS tax code. For more information on this topic, please see our sections on Types of Non-Profits, Tax Status, and Treatment of Related Organizations, which can be found on the Our Process page. For more information about things to consider when donating to organizations that have related public charity and social welfare entities, read "Sorting Out Nonprofit Pairs" in the Articles & Alerts section, below.

According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) audit of December 31, 2020 (Note 12, Contributed Services), POGO reports receiving donated legal services in 2020 on which it placed a total value of $927,741. POGO reports that its program, The Constitution Project, "benefited from these donated services."

[Note: CharityWatch generally excludes the value of in-kind (non-cash) donations of goods and services from its calculations of Program % and Cost to Raise $100. More information on how grades are calculated and the treatment of in-kind donations can be found on the Our Process page.]

According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) 2020 tax filing, POGO reports re: Business Transactions Involving Interested Persons a transaction in the amount of $94,000 involving Pamela Rutter. The transaction is described as follows: "Pamela Rutter is an employee of POGO and her spouse, Keith Rutter, is the COO of POGO" (IRS Form 990, Schedule L, Parts IV & V).

POGO reports Keith Rutter as "Secretary/Executive Operating Off.," receiving total compensation of $171,251 in 2020 (IRS Form 990, Part VII).

According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) audit of December 31, 2020 (Note 1 re: Risks and uncertainties):

"POGO invests in various investment securities. Investment securities are exposed to various risks such as interest rates, market and credit risks. Due to the level of risk associated with certain investment securities, it is at least reasonably possible that changes in the values of investment securities will occur in the near term and that such changes could materially affect the amounts reported in the accompanying [audited] financial statements."

According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) audit of December 31, 2020 (Note 1 re: Economic uncertainties):

"On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a global pandemic. As a result of the spread of COVID-19, economic uncertainties have arisen which may negatively impact POGO's operations. The overall potential impact is unknown at this time."

According to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) 2020 tax filing, POGO reports re: Compensation, Supplemental Information (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part III):

Regarding nonfixed payments to officers, directors, trustees, key employees and highest compensated employees (Schedule J, Part I, Line 7):

"Bonus compensation is reported in Part II Column (B)(ii) ['Bonus & incentive compensation']."

POGO reports a "Bonus & incentive compensation" payment of $2,500 paid to Scott Amey, General Counsel. His reported total compensation in 2020 is $162,942. No other "Bonus & incentive compensation" payments in 2020 are reported (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part II).