Center for Public Integrity

Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity was founded in 1989 and is one of the country's oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations. They strive to enhance democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of trust by powerful public and private institutions, using the tools of investigative journalism.

The Center focuses its investigations on national security and government transparency, government waste/fraud/abuse, money and politics, the environment, and healthcare reform. They have won more than 50 major journalism awards, including the George Polk Award and numerous honors from the Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association, Overseas Press Club, Society of Environmental Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Project: Mapping US Pentagon Spending

In the past decade, U.S. military spending has ballooned to almost $700 billion per year, more than at least the next ten nations combined. Yet little media attention has been paid to where these funds go and how much of the total is lost to waste, fraud and abuse.

With the help of Freedom of the Press Foundation and its donors, the Center for Public Integrity will dig through the often secretive process of military budgeting, as well as the soundness of specific military programs. Their questions are simple, yet the answer are often hard to come by: How are military funds—amounting to nearly half of discretionary federal budget—being spent, and what influences those decisions?

CPI plans to get past the secrecy and examine the causes that have led to the biggest defense budget in the world, including billions of dollars wasted as U.S. forces prepare to leave Afghanistan. The Center will also detail what’s gone wrong in some of the Defense Department's most troubled and costly projects like the F-35 fighter jet and the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships.

CPI will also look at the explosion of military entitlements, spending that now approaches a third of the Pentagon's overall budget. Their investigation will show how this increase was created, and who benefits, and why nobody in Washington wants to bring transparency and accountability to this area of the budget.

Finally, the Center also plans to map how top defense contractors in Washington regularly finance the election campaigns of the lawmakers who oversee or control their budgets. Political analysts have called this phenomenon "the gift economy," in which each routinely gets—and expects—something of value from the other. In a special series of reports, the Center for Public Integrity will explore the dimensions of this financial relationship and its enormous influence on the government's policy making and expenditures related to national security.