January 19, 2021

Whistleblowers Sound Alarm on $2 Million in Gross Waste Spending Over Three Months by Voice of America’s Parent Agency

WASHINGTON—Today, whistleblowers notified Congress and the federal agencies assisting whistleblowers of at least $2 million in gross waste spending just in the past three months by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the parent agency of Voice of America (VOA). These funds went to McGuireWoods—a large law firm which employs more than 1,000 lawyers and bills its clients at rates exceeding $700 per hour for partners.

In August 2020, the head of USAGM, Michael Pack, agreed to hire McGuireWoods to investigate USAGM employees. Later, the scope of McGuireWoods work was expanded to conduct “compliance reviews” of USAGM, its grantees, and the agencies it oversees.

To date, McGuireWoods has billed USAGM for thousands of hours of attorney and staff time – exceeding $600,000 each month in October, November, and December – totaling at least $2 million.

The whistleblowers, who wish to remain anonymous, notified Congress and agencies through a letter sent by their counsel, Government Accountability Project. The letter emphasizes that the payments to McGuireWoods are a gross waste of taxpayer dollars because the services paid for duplicate the work of federal investigative, audit, and personnel agencies, including the State Department Office of Inspector General.

In the letter, Government Accountability Project Senior Counsel David Seide wrote:

“Mr. Pack hired McGuireWoods to perform work that could have and should have been provided by existing federal offices and staff.

This waste of government resources is shocking. We believe it likely that additional investigation will further reveal violations of law, rule and regulation, abuse of authority and gross mismanagement.

We urge you to promptly conduct such an investigation and report on its findings.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Contact: Andrew Harman, Government Accountability Project Communications Director
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202.926.3304

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.