The Art of the Watchdog

Fighting Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Corruption in Government

By Daniel L. Feldman & David R. Eichenthal

Subjects: Public Policy, Political Science
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Hardcover : 9781438449296, 353 pages, January 2014
Paperback : 9781438449289, 353 pages, July 2020

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

1. The Watchdog
2. What is Oversight?
3. Tools of the Watchdog
4. Limitations on Oversight
5. Congressional Oversight
6. Government Accountability Office
7. The Federal Inspector General System at Thirty-Five
8. State Legislative Oversight
9. State Inspectors General
10. Other Elected and Appointed State Officials—Comptrollers, Auditors, and Attorneys General
11. Local Legislative Oversight
12. Local Auditors and Inspectors General
13. Other Elected and Appointed Local Officials
14. The Role of the Press
15. The Role of Public Interest and Other Non-Government Oversight Organizations
16. Conclusion
Name Index
Subject Index

Expert advice on how any citizen can fight government fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption.


Does government fraud, waste, abuse, and corruption make your blood boil?

In The Art of the Watchdog, Daniel L. Feldman and David R. Eichenthal show how to fight back. Based on their own work in federal, state, and local government over the last forty years, they will arm you with the tools and techniques needed to put the spotlight on those who cheat and steal from the public or who squander valuable taxpayer dollars through waste and inefficiency. At the same time, Feldman and Eichenthal outline what they see as the good and the bad of current oversight efforts based on case studies from across the nation. Ultimately their goal is to ensure that the "art of the watchdog" does not become a lost one and to improve the quality and integrity of government and strengthen democracy.

Daniel L. Feldman is Associate Professor of Public Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York and coauthor (with Gerald Benjamin) of Tales from the Sausage Factory: Making Laws in New York State, also published by SUNY Press. David R. Eichenthal is a Director with Public Financial Management, Inc. and Senior Research Fellow at the New York University School of Law, Center for Research in Crime and Justice.


"What makes this book valuable is its in-depth analysis, complete with true stories, of legislative and executive oversight efforts." — Political Science Quarterly

"The Art of the Watchdog … ought to be required reading for any government executive. It's a timely reminder of the necessity for holding appointed and elected officials accountable." — New York Times

"In The Art of the Watchdog, Feldman and Eichenthal offer a comprehensive overview of the world of oversight from the perspective of two authors who have been around the block a time or two. If you want to understand the different forms of watchdogs and how they both succeed and fail, there is no better resource available." — Neil M. Barofsky, author of Bailout: How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street

"This is simply the best book written on the government watchdog function. It smartly explains how a persistent, gutsy, and empirical watchdog can be a tugboat moving supertankers." — Mark J. Green, former New York City Public Advocate and author of Who Runs Congress?

"Who really watches out for abuses and waste in government? Often it is committed public servants who understand that oversight is part of doing the people's business. Feldman and Eichenthal show how effective watchdogs can lead to better government performance and improved public confidence." — Tom Griscom, former White House Communications Director in the Reagan administration