FAQs | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste


What is Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)?

CAGW is a 501(c)(3) private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing more than 1 million members and supporters nationwide. Since its founding in 1984, CAGW has earned a reputation as America's premier taxpayer watchdog organization for exposing countless examples of government waste and safeguarding the interests of taxpayers in Washington.

What is the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW)?

CCAGW is the 501(c)(4) lobbying and grassroots arm of CAGW.

What are CAGW's & CCAGW’s mission?

The organizations’ mission is to work for the elimination of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government in order to promote an efficient, well-managed, transparent government that is accountable to taxpayers.

For what are CAGW & CCAGW famous?

CAGW's most famous publication is its Congressional Pig Book, an annual exposé that names the names of pork-barrel politicians and lists their pet projects. 

CCAGW tabulates and publishes its Congressional Ratings each year, which evaluate how each member of Congress measures up on key tax and spending votes.

Prime Cuts, the most comprehensive database of private- and public-sector recommendations to reform the federal government available anywhere, annually details how to save taxpayers trillions of dollars.

The WasteWatcher” is CAGW's staff blog. In their commentary, CAGW staff draw on dense General Accounting Office and other government reports, obscure news items, and the occasional account of a whistleblower to capture headlines by transforming the dry matter of federal financial management into tales of government ineptitude. 

How were CAGW & CCAGW founded?

Founded in 1984 by the late businessman J. Peter Grace and late Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jack Anderson, CAGW and CCAGW are the legacy of President Ronald Reagan's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, also known as the Grace Commission.  In 1982, President Reagan directed members of the Grace Commission to "work like tireless bloodhounds to root out government inefficiency and waste of tax dollars."  For two years, 161 corporate executives and community leaders led an army of 2,000 volunteers on a waste hunt throughout the federal government.  Funded entirely by voluntary contributions of $76 million from the private sector, the search cost taxpayers nothing. The Grace Commission made 2,478 recommendations which, if implemented, would save $424.4 billion over three years, an average of $141.5 billion a year all without eliminating essential services. The 47 volumes and 21,000 pages of the Grace Commission Report constituted a vision of an efficient, well-managed government that is accountable to taxpayers. CAGW and CCAGW have worked to make that vision a reality and have helped save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars through the implementation of Grace Commission findings and other recommendations.

How are the organizations funded?

The vast majority of the organizations’ funding comes from individual contributors around the nation.  Additional funding comes from foundations, corporations, and other organizations.  For a more detailed itemization of CAGW's sources of income, visit the Financial Information page. 

What is pork-barrel spending?

CAGW has developed seven criteria for identifying pork-barrel spending. All of the items in the Congressional Pig Book meet at least one of CAGW's seven criteria, but most satisfy at least two:

  • Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
  • Not specifically authorized;
  • Not competitively awarded;
  • Not requested by the President;
  • Greatly exceeds the President's budget request or the previous year's funding;
  • Not the subject of congressional hearings; or,
  • Serves only a local or special interest. 

How Do I become a Member?

To join CAGW, make a contribution using our secure form. For more information about the organization please contact us or call us at 1-800-BE-ANGRY.