Reports by government agencies are a crucial component in maintaining a high level of transparency in our democracy. And each year, thousands of government entities seek to do this by releasing reports that detail corruption and information that many public officials would rather keep private. For instance, an Army Inspector General’s report from 2004 exposed 94 cases of prisoner abuse in Iraq. In 2004, a Government Accountability Office report revealed the extent of illegal activity in the Oil for Food program. And a California auditor’s report from 2003 showed how that state’s taxpayers were spending $41 million dollars more than necessary on a non-competitively bid contract with a software company. All of these reports helped stop the abuse and led to fixes in the various programs.
But such reports are rarely recognized. Until now.
We are proud to present the ProPublica Prizes for Investigative Governance. We want to recognize the most important and thorough investigative work by government agencies that, much like our own mission, seek to serve the public interest by exposing exploitation of the weak by the strong and the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.
But we need your help. We’re looking for the best reports from state and federal agencies like the General Accounting Office, various inspectors general, special counsels, state auditors, Congressional committees, attorneys general, special prosecutors and the like. We need you to nominate deserving reports. The nomination process is easy – simply download the entry form, fill it out and then email it to us at ProPublica. The deadline is this Saturday, January 31. From there, we’ve convened a distinguished panel– which includes former U.S. Rep. James Leach, former Comptroller General (and current Peter G. Peterson Foundation president) David Walker, former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, Denver Post editor Gregory Moore, former federal prosecutor Victoria Toensing, former New York Times Public Editor Byron Calame and our own editor-in-chief Paul Steiger – to choose the best entries. The winners will be honored at a luncheon in Washington, DC this Spring.