March 22, 2017

Trump Withdraws Nomination of OSC Head Carolyn Lerner, Popular Whistleblower Advocate

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

In a move criticized by whistleblower advocates, President Trump “withdr[ew] from further Senate consideration” the reappointment nomination of Carolyn Lerner.  An Obama administration appointee, Lerner has been Special Counsel since 2011, heading the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).   The independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency’s stated primary mission includes “protecting federal employees and applicants from . . . reprisal for whistleblowing.”

Lerner quickly became known for her vigilance in protecting and embracing government whistleblowers.  In testimony before Senate last year, Lerner cited progress under her leadership, including a “dramatic increase in [whistleblower] filings” and a significant upsurge in favorable outcomes for employees.

In light of Lerner’s impressive track record, the Washington Post reports that her renomination garnered support on both sides of the Congressional aisle.  Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) said he “believe[s] Ms. Lerner has earned a second term,” noting “bipartisan praise for [OSC’s] work, including resolving multiple cases of retaliation against whistleblowers at the Veterans Administration.”  And Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), tireless whistleblower advocate, said “protecting [whistleblowers] is an important, non-partisan job that the Office of Special Counsel has done well under Carolyn Lerner’s leadership.”

Whistleblowers, too, praised Lerner as “fearless” and “a tough act to follow.”  And VA whistleblower and Trump supporter called the president’s decision to withdraw her nomination “a horrible move for someone who truly wants to ‘drain the swamp.’”

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