Author Archive

The choice between bureaucratic over-regulation or forward-facing tech policy (Glass op-ed)

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Franklin Center’s Kevin Glass examines how infrastructure regulations hamper technological innovation in a Washington Examiner op-ed:

The next wave in wireless technology rollout is poised to be “small cell” technology, but local regulations have hindered deployment for years. Localities have looked at this kind of infrastructure deployment as a piggy bank. But there are ways forward that governments can take to ease some of the onerous regulatory processes.

Current rules typically force wireless companies to go through regulatory procedures that were put in place for giant cellphone towers for each individual small cell, despite the fact that small cell technology will both supplement and complement the large towers going forward — and the need for dozens, if not more, small cells per each large tower.

Local governments have refused to adapt their regulatory regimes to new technologies, and small cells are no different. The permitting process typically involves mountains of paperwork for both the tech companies and the local bureaucrats. There are, of course, fees for each installation. Too many localities would prefer to keep the status quo in place and continue collecting that money, even if it means a slower rollout.

There are ways to update this. New Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has praised the 2014 Mobile BILD Act, Georgia’s statewide update of their wireless infrastructure laws. The BILD act streamlined the permitting process for wireless infrastructure and limited the fees that localities could collect from wireless infrastructure companies.

Click here for the full piece in the Washington Examiner.

Watchdog Investigates: The problems with the Paxton prosecution

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Watchdog reporter Jon Cassidy isn’t afraid to go where no other journalist will go.

Watchdog reporter Jon Cassidy

Whether he’s exposing a far-reaching admissions scandal, uncovering wasteful spending by school districts, or shining a spotlight on union malfeasance, Watchdog.org readers have come to expect hard-hitting reporting that challenges the prevailing narrative.

That’s certainly what they are getting with his reporting on the prosecution of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for securities fraud. Over the course of nearly two years, Cassidy has exposed inconvenient truths about the prosecutors’ flimsy case — which is costing taxpayers dearly.

In the latest chapter of the case, the prosecutors are now seeking to move the trial to a new county, claiming that Cassidy’s factual reporting — which they refer to 18 times throughout their court filing — is biasing potential jurors in favor of Paxton’s innocence.

Check out excerpts from Cassidy’s reporting below for more on the problematic Paxton prosecution.

An admission of innocence?

In Cassidy’s latest story, he dissects the prosecution’s claim that his reporting is biasing prospective jurors:

The court-appointed attorneys trying to imprison Attorney General Ken Paxton effectively admitted last week that he is innocent.

In filing a motion to move his trial to another county, Brian Wice, Kent Schaffer, and Nicole DeBorde blamed Watchdog.org for ruining their chances to convict Paxton in Collin County.

It is a first principle of American criminal justice that the accused should be presumed innocent, that any fair and impartial trial begins with this presumption, and that it is the responsibility of the prosecution to overcome the presumption by assembling enough evidence to convince the jury of the guilt of the accused.

Wice, Shaffer and DeBorde do not have any evidence of Paxton’s guilt, so they have already started blaming the presumption of innocence. If jurors believe Paxton to be innocent, why then they must be “tainted,” according to these lawyers.

And what “tainted” prospective jurors? Cassidy’s exclusive reporting on the Texas Rangers’ investigation into Paxton might have something to do with it.

The Texas Ranger files

Watchdog exclusively reported on the Texas Rangers’ investigation into the charge against Paxton. The investigatory records showed that the criminal case against the Attorney General is based on an assumption. Here’s what Cassidy reported:

It’s an assumption that state Rep. Byron Cook (R–Corsicana) says he made about Paxton before investing $300,000 in a company called Servergy. Three of his friends say they made the same assumption, according to files obtained by Watchdog.org.

These four friends – Cook, Joel Hochberg, Bill Sandford, and Bob Griggs – have been investing together for decades. Cook and Sandford started going in on deals together 30 years ago; Hochberg joined them 20 years ago.

Those four had Cook’s attorney, Terry Jacobson, shop a complaint about Paxton to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Travis County District Attorney’s office, among others, before Paxton had even taken office as attorney general.

The first complaint, in early 2014, had been “submitted by someone who was associated with a political opponent of Paxton who was seeking office in the 2014 Republican primary election,” according to the Rangers’ reports.

Paxton’s opponent that year was Rep. Dan Branch (R-Highland Park), who was, like Cook, a member of the state House leadership team that Paxton had challenged two years prior in a failed run for speaker.

And then there’s this:

For more than a year, the complaints were tossed like a hot potato from one jurisdiction to another. The last toss was from Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, an old friend of Paxton’s who couldn’t afford the perception that he was doing special favors.

Willis asked the Texas Rangers, a division of the Department of Public Safety, to investigate on April 14, 2015. In July, two well-paid special prosecutors and a judge who later recused himself got Paxton indicted on state criminal charges. The SEC jumped on the dogpile in April 2016 with a lawsuit against Paxton.

The Rangers’ first interview, on April 17, 2015, was with Jacobson, who said he was representing the four investors.

Although deception is a key element in any fraud case, none of the four claimed Paxton misled them – about getting Servergy stock, about putting his own money into the company, or anything else.

Rather, “Jacobson said the four investors assumed Paxton was also investing in Servergy based on past investments with Paxton,” Ranger Stacy McNeal wrote.

However, it was Cook who turned Hochberg, Sandford, and Griggs onto the Servergy opportunity, according to the records. It was Servergy CEO Bill Mapp who gave the presentation on the investment, not Paxton.

Sandford and Griggs, by their own admission, never even talked to Paxton about Servergy.

Their discussions about whether to invest were with Cook, who “was committed to investing in Servergy,” according to Sandford. Nobody claims that what Paxton was doing with his money even entered into the discussion.

Taxpayers on the hook

A politically-motivated prosecution is bad enough. Even worse? This is costing taxpayers a hefty sum.

The special prosecutors appointed for this case have billed the taxpayers in excess of half a million dollars, potentially in violation of state law. Here’s what Cassidy reported in January:

The court-appointed prosecutors in the Ken Paxton case have submitted new invoices that bring their compensation to date to $575,105.99.

The new batch of invoices from Kent Schaffer, Brian Wice and Nicole DeBorde covers the last year, with a total of $205,191.24 in new billing. Collin County taxpayers have already paid them $369,914.75.

The Collin County Commissioners Court had not yet received the invoices as of Thursday afternoon, but the latest tab is sure to set off a debate. In October, the commissioners voted 5-0 in support of a resolution to challenge excessive court-ordered payments for attorneys.

State law says that a court-appointed prosecutor “shall receive compensation” in the “same amount and manner” under a county fee schedule as a court-appointed lawyer defending a homeless person.

That’s not much in this case: $1,000 for pretrial work, $1,000 a day for trial, with a possible $1,000 bump if a judge deems it appropriate.

Yet visiting judge George Gallagher has ordered a $300-an-hour rate for the three attorneys prosecuting Paxton, without ever explaining what unusual circumstances might justify the extravagance.

Jon Cassidy has extensively reported on the Paxton prosecution, and he’ll continue to doggedly follow this story as it continues to develop. To access all of Jon’s stories on the subject, click here.

Overbroad executive order threatens competitive advantage for American companies (Neily Op-Ed)

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Friday, February 10th, 2017

Franklin Center President Nicole Neily examined how the White House’s executive order on immigration could have unintended consequences for American companies. Here’s what she wrote at RedState:

The White House’s executive order on immigration has prompted pushback from numerous American companies because of the implications it will have on their employees. Although the order was meant to protect the country, its haphazard enforcement jeopardizes the competitive advantage of some of the leading American companies – which, in turn, will impact American workers.

Both sides of the aisle have long agreed that the nation’s immigration system is broken and in need of an overhaul (how to do so, of course, is where the parties diverge). In national polls, immigration is regularly in the top 4 or 5 issues listed – and it’s an issue that also motivates voters, as the 2016 presidential election demonstrated. Throughout the campaign, President Trump emphasized strong borders and enforcement, which resonated with the electorate. Unfortunately, the President’s first executive order on the issue has been interpreted in an overbroad way and put our international competitiveness at risk.

Companies based in the United States have led the world in technological innovation for a long time, and our leadership has attracted the best and brightest from other countries to come here; now, some of those tech industry leaders are petitioning the Trump Administration to use its executive enforcement discretion to uphold our competitive advantage by not prohibiting some of its employees from travel to and from the United States.

Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon – among others, even in traditional manufacturing sectors – have sent an open letter to the Administration urging enforcement discretion for some of their employees who may be affected by the executive order. They argue that their employees who may be affected are those who hold permanent legal status through their visas, and their travel – for leisure, or to see family – could impact their work environment.

Microsoft, in particular, made a more specific and separate case from the general letter. The tech company’s chief legal officer wrote that they have 76 employees whose permanent work location is in the United States who may be impacted by the order, and of some heartbreaking conditions – cases where parents have been separated from their children, or where an employee has a critically ill family member abroad that they may be prohibited from visiting.

Click here to read the full piece at RedState.

Congress overturns some Obama regs, but there’s more to undo (Neily Op-Ed)

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Friday, February 10th, 2017

Franklin Center President Nicole Neily pens an op-ed in The Hill about the need to undo more Obama-era regulations:

It’s always a risk that an outgoing presidential administration and the executive agencies under administration control will issue complicated and partisan rules as a last-ditch effort to preserve the president’s legacy.

In order to combat this, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) was signed into law in 1996 to expedite the process of peeling back last-minute regulations.

Obviously, it’s possible for many executive agencies to unwind some of the Obama-era regulations with standard policymaking; however, CRA review can be used for some of the big regulations that have already been put into effect that may already be hampering businesses and consumers.

Last week, Congress voted to strike down three Obama-era regulations, including environmental and gun control regulations, and they’ll use the CRA in more votes this week on education and labor rules.

But there are more executive regulations passed in the waning days of the Obama administration that Republicans could target — and ones that may be even more important.

Click her for the full piece in The Hill.

How the Left can win the culture war: Abandon their tactics (Glass op-ed)

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Friday, February 10th, 2017

Franklin Center’s Kevin Glass weighs into the debate over free speech issues on college campuses with an op-ed in the Washington Examiner:

The culture war has turned from cold to hot in the past month on college campuses, all because of Milo Yiannopoulos, a subpar provocateur whose performance art consists of deportation jokes. At the University of Washington, a supporter shot a protester in the streets outside the performance. At the University of California, Berkeley, protesters destroyed multiple businesses in a riot against his invitation and speech.

Behind the headlines is a story of how to win the culture war without turning to violence.

Sarah Gamble and the rest of the College Republicans of the University of Washington, who invited Yiannopoulos to speak, are not the provocateur’s target audience. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reported on the affair at Washington, Gamble “had supported Rand Paul in the primaries,” and “[v]ery few of the Republican club members were fans of Mr. Trump.” But Gamble felt backed into a corner: the atmosphere on campus was one of complete social sanction for non-progressive viewpoints.

“You’re put into that position were you’re either quiet, or you fight back,” she says. And when you fight back, “It’s a bit more conservative than you intend to, and it’s a bit more rash than you intend to.”

College is a formative time for anyone, and an interesting time for those who are politically conservative. It means years spent in close quarters with people likely to be several degrees more liberal than the general population, and under authority figures on the faculty and in the administrative offices who are overwhelmingly politically left-wing. For conservatives, it can feel like a constant struggle merely to justify their existence.

Click here for the full piece in the Washington Examiner.

Global businessman Trump challenges globalism’s conventional wisdom (Ward Op-ed)

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Watchdog.org reporter Kenric Ward analyzed the political backlash over President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration in an op-ed that appeared in the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, and other Texas newspapers:

Can we all take a breath and calm down?

The political backlash over President Donald Trump’s refugee and immigrant “ban” has gone beyond knee-jerk partisanship. The furor has abandoned reason.

It’s not clear if that’s because Trump’s opponents have yet to figure out he is not going to kowtow to their cherished conventional wisdom, or because they have figured it out.

Whichever is the case, they should prepare themselves for more of the same.

Two years ago, President Barack Obama designated seven countries as a security threat for U.S. travelers. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were cited, based on the threat of terrorism there.

The global situation has not improved, and Trump is not convinced U.S. border security is up to the task. So he directed that individuals from the terrorist-sponsoring countries not be admitted until they can be fully vetted.

Trump’s order is temporary, with security policies being reviewed and updated over the next 90 days.

More could follow. What that is will be determined by the outcome of the review.

But rather than wait and see what evolves, the opposition went immediately into full panic mode.

Could the new administration — in its whirlwind of executive orders, initiatives and appointments — have done a better job implementing the order? Certainly. More clarity on the status of green-card holders would have helped.

But Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Tuesday denied news reports that he was blindsided by Trump’s order (which, by the way, is consistently identified as “controversial” in media accounts, a word never applied to Medicaid, for example, which has been just as controversial and for a lot longer).

“We knew the executive order was coming,” Kelly said. “We had people involved in the general drafting of it. Clearly this whole approach was part of what then-candidate Trump talked about for a year or two. So we knew all this was coming.”

Kelly may as well have been talking to the wind. The false narrative that the president cut corners gave his opponents all the ammunition they needed to blast the policy and point to fictional fissures inside the new administration.

Let’s be clear. Amid their reactionary harangues, left-wing ideologues — including an increasingly desperate Democratic Party that was left by the November elections without a seat at either the executive or legislative tables — have demonstrated no firm allegiance to national security. They may not wish America ill when they mouth the glib diversity-is-our-strength mantra, but their agenda sows disunity and disrespect in this country, where we all bleed red.

Trump’s robust brand of nationalism also chafes global businesses, which see international travel as a borderless right.

But entering the United States is a privilege, and the executive branch has a legal duty to safeguard this country.

While the global economy has opened new opportunities for economic growth and prosperity, we live in an era in which commercial worship of that global economy has also opened the gates to global terror and made the world a more dangerous place.

In the irony of ironies, a businessman with global connections challenges the conventional wisdom that open borders are an inevitable good. Battered by a loss of jobs and growing insecurity, Americans elected Trump to break America’s dysfunctional political duopoly.

The country wants prosperity and safety. Trump is working for both those objectives. His detractors offer only shrill objections.

Here’s why Enterprise Florida is a bad investment for state taxpayers (Bicknell Op-Ed)

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Watchdog.org executive editor John Bicknell wrote the following op-ed, published in the Orlando Sentinel, explaining why Florida’s economic incentive agency, Enterprise Florida, isn’t a good investment of tax dollars:

The battle over the future of Enterprise Florida is, in microcosm, the battle over the role of government – what should it be doing, and who should it be doing it for?

Republican Gov. Rick Scott wants $85 million this year to fund Enterprise Florida, the state’s primary provider of incentives intended to lure new business to the state and keep existing ones.

But Enterprise Florida and other state economic development programs are not producing enough jobs or return on investment to justify the expense.

A review of Enterprise Florida Inc. and the Department of Economic Opportunity — the state’s major incentive providers – by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability looked at a decade of data on those two criteria, the most-often cited justifications for giving taxpayer money to private businesses, judging Florida against seven other states.

Florida didn’t fare so well, trailing in overall job growth as well as high-wage job creation.

The agencies are also failing as producers of revenue for the state government.

According to Amy Baker, Florida’s chief economist and legislative coordinator for the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, of the state’s 26 incentive programs, 18 failed to produce enough tax revenue to break even. 

Click here for the full op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel.

Meet Carter DeWitt, Franklin Center’s New Vice President of Development

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Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Carter DeWitt is no stranger to public policy organizations, bringing over 25 years of experience at the national, state and local levels with helping donors support the causes they are passionate about. She’s the Franklin Center’s new Vice President of Development, and she’s got big plans for 2017.

Get to know Carter and how she plans to grow the support for our public interest journalism in the interview below:

  1. Where are you from? Tell us about yourself.

I grew up on the beaches of northeast Florida (Ponte Vedra Beach) and lived in Florida most of my life – except for a recent five year stint in Washington, DC.  North Florida is a wonderful place to be, it has a younger demographic profile and tourism is a small sidebar, not a major industry. You get the best of both worlds, a thriving economy and great weather supporting year round recreation.  Not surprisingly, Forbes ranked Jacksonville, Florida as the number two place in the country for attracting new residents in 2016.

Washington, DC is a fantastic place to be as well, although I could not have chosen two more opposite places to live. I remember thinking when I first landed in DC, if someone had told me on the tennis courts a year ago I would be living a block from the White House and working in the National Press Building, I would have laughed and said “I’ll have two of whatever you’re drinking!” I loved DC, but sandy beaches were calling and I returned to Florida in 2013.

  1. How do you spend your leisure time? What are your interests?

Maybe this means I have no life, but I dedicate a lot of my spare time volunteering for a wide variety of other nonprofits from animal rescue to the homeless.  I guess I just love what I do – I don’t consider it a job and have no problem giving back in my spare time.

Now if you ask my adult children what I am interested in, besides tennis, they will tell you anything science especially dinosaurs and fossils. I have a budding fossil collection and a substantial shark tooth collection numbering in the thousands including a few megalodon teeth as large as your hand. I collect as I walk on the beach.  

  1. Why have you chosen a career in nonprofit fundraising? What excites you about development work?

I didn’t actively pursue a career in fundraising, actually I have a B.S in chemistry, which I never used.  However, my favorite reads are still medical journals and research papers. I am continually amazed at the ever increasing speed of scientific discovery. From new surgical techniques, to age reversal to anti-gravity devices and to AI (artificial intelligence), it’s a fabulous future barreling towards us all.

I fell into nonprofit fundraising because I seemed to have a natural knack of connecting donors with that special project, event or organization they felt passionate about.  I always felt blessed in life and always gave back to the community. I started early, raising $30,000 for a local zoo when I was in high school. As I matured I was called upon to chair events, oversee campaigns and it just grew from there. When my husband passed away, way too early, I delved into fundraising full time. I now have successful experience at the national, state, regional and local levels in almost every funding vehicle. Best of all I don’t feel like I am working. I wake up energized and looking forward to the day.

  1. What is your favorite part of working with donors?

Good question! I always say I work with my fellow development team members, but I work for our donors. It’s never about what I want – but always about what the donor wants. I enjoy helping individuals, foundations and businesses match their support – whether it be time, talent or treasure – to the projects and missions that resonate in their hearts and minds. I’ve met so many talented and fascinating people over the years and I feel blessed to have played a small part in assisting them as they give back to the community. It’s such a feel good career.

  1. What does watchdog journalism mean to you?

I was one of the angry masses during the 2016 presidential election cycle and my trust in mainstream media is pretty low – for good reason. Recently I read a quote from the New York Times complaining about President Trump, saying (paraphrasing here) that the public is inflamed over the treatment of a cherished and beloved American icon – the press. I broke out into laughter and all I could think was ‘what cup of coffee did that reporter buy in la-la land this morning?’

I’ve come to appreciate Watchdog journalism for its integrity, its investigative method and its nonpartisan reporting. I may not always agree with what is said, but I have to admit, we tell both sides of the story. I’ve had the privilege of meeting with and talking to a lot of the staff reporters and they are an impressive group. It means a lot to me when I talk to donors about our journalists and I can accurately use the highest of accolades. Few news outlets can do that with truth.

  1. What do you want donors to know about Franklin Center?

I left Washington, DC a few years ago thinking to myself “Been there, done that and got the t-shirt.” Despite several incredible job offers to return since I left, I had no intention of going back to the national scene, and I had no problem saying “no thank you.”  That changed when Nicki Neily, Franklin President and an old DC friend, reached out to me asking me to consider joining the team.  Out of respect for her I did my due diligence and analyzed the potential for Franklin Center and Watchdog.org. though to be honest, I started with every intention of repeating my “No, but thanks for thinking of me,” as soon as I finished my research.

What I discovered was amazing. I was blown away. I realized Franklin Center and Watchdog.org stood on the precipice of opportunity and had all the tools to make their vision happen on a scale never anticipated since their founding in 2009. Experienced motivated leadership team? Check! Talented staff? Check! External opportunity created by self-implosion of a huge portion of mainstream media? Check! Untapped revenue sources? Check! My list just went on and on.  Call it a perfect storm or say that all the stars are aligned, but without a doubt, the next five years will be one heck of a ride and I wanted to be a part of the movement. I hope you’ll join me.

You can learn more about Carter by clicking here

The next battlegrounds for school choice: Stubborn red states (Glass Op-Ed)

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Where can school choice advance in 2017? Franklin Center’s Kevin Glass takes a closer look at the education landscape in red states:

The sweeping successes of Republicans nationwide in the 2016 elections presents a huge opportunity for the school choice movement. Republicans have historically been more friendly to school choice than Democrats, and they now have 33 governorships and full control of 32 state legislatures.

Unfortunately, Republican control doesn’t always equal the best outcomes for students. In places like Texas and Mississippi, hundreds of thousands of students sit on waitlists for choice programs despite Republican control in both of those states.

“Mississippi is a little late to the school choice dance,” education activist Kevin Chavrous said, according to Mississippi Watchdog. The state has a choice program, but that “only a small percentage of Mississippi students are able to take advantage, and opportunities need to be expanded.” Reformers there are working with legislators.

Watchdog Texas reported that the state “remains a laggard” in this important area, and that the Republican speaker of the house has been an opponent of expansion of school choice programs. The status quo policies are what keep a reported 120,000 students on waitlists to get out of failing public schools.

Click here for the full op-ed in the Washington Examiner. 

A new administration begins, and Watchdog reporting continues

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Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

 

No matter who leads our country, federal bureaucrats with political agendas will always run amok in Washington. And that means we are always under threat of overreach from the federal government. 

With a new administration taking office, here’s a look back at three major stories Watchdog.org broke in 2016 about the federal government and how we will continue covering these issues in the new year.

1- The Google Administration

Watchdog reporter Johnny Kampis broke the news that Google officials visited the White House more than once a week on average since President Obama took office. The story immediately went viral, landing on the Drudge Report and the front page of FoxNews.com. Thousands of people were talking about the story on social media, including Rob Lowe, who tweeted his thoughts.

Kampis also broke a second story about the revolving door between Google and the Obama Administration, exposing that more than 250 people moved from Google and related firms to the federal government or vice versa since President Obama took office. For a second time the story was featured on the Drudge Report, and it also led to a segment on Fox Business.

Google was reportedly planning to remain close to the White House if Hillary Clinton has won, but with Donald Trump taking office, the tech giant is scrambling to get close to him and his staff. As Google and other major players try to gain access to the federal government and massage policy in their favor, we’ll expose their actions.

You can find all stories in our Google Administration series by clicking here.

2- Border Disorder

Watchdog.org Texas reporter Kenric Ward was built up trust with sources knowledgeable about immigration and border security, so they know they can come to him with big news. And they did: Watchdog was able to exclusively report that the Department of Homeland Security shut down a key aerial surveillance program along the border.

His reporting got the attention of a bipartisan coalition of public officials. Together, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn and Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar demanded that the department resume the program. Abbott also shared Ward’s work on Twitter:

Will the new president resume the program, which was responsible for apprehending 110,000 illegal border crossers? As the Trump Administration moves to secure the border, we’ll continue to cover this important topic.3-

3- Deadly Delays

Wisconsin Watchdog bureau chief Matt Kittle exposed a huge scandal in the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review: an employee who brought to light claims of incompetence, misconduct and long case delays told us that management was retaliating against him for blowing the whistle.

Meanwhile, Administrative Law Judge John Pleuss was accused of deciding disability cases based on the appearance and race of claimants and of making highly inappropriate and sexually-charged comments about them. Documents obtained first by Watchdog show the judge using terms such as “cute,” “buxom,” and “gorilla-like,” to describe claimants.

As a result of our reporting, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee began an investigation into the Social Security Administration. The judge was later suspended and escorted from his office, and more SSA employees at the center of scandals have decided to leave the agency or have been reassigned.

Will President Trump and the Congress clean up the SSA? We’ll be watching.

You can find all of our stories in the Deadly Delays series by clicking here. 

These stories are just a few examples of our impact journalism. And regardless of who holds office, government must be watched. That’s exactly what Watchdog does. While other news organizations get distracted with salacious stories and snappy soundbites, we keep the focus on what really matters.