Today is National Whistleblower Appreciation Day and, to mark the occasion, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) is hosting a panel discussion — Whistleblower Rights Campaigns in the 114th Congress – as part of a three day Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights.
The GAP panel is set to feature prominent whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Robert MacLean, as well as high-profile whistleblower advocates including GAP’s Legal Director Tom Devine. Topics for discussion include the need for jury trials to enforce Whistleblower Protection Act rights for federal employees, the rise in retaliation through criminal investigations and prosecutions, and the challenge for national security whistleblowers after cancellation of preexisting rights for working within the system has sparked classified leaks.
GAP’s panel is one of several events taking place today. Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden, who serve as the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, are the keynote speakers at a Capitol Hill luncheon to honor whistleblowers.
Grassley also yesterday presented a Floor Statement on the False Claims Act to President Obama. Grassley argued that the DOJ must enforce relators’ rights and uphold fair awards, emphasizing that “Congress intended to empower, protect, and reward relators who identify fraud against the taxpayers. History teaches us that weakening the relator’s rights weakens the government’s ability to fight fraud.”
Grassley and Wyden sponsored the Senate resolution establishing July 30 as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day to “help salute those who have stuck their necks out to identify waste, fraud and abuse despite the odds that there would likely be difficult days ahead.” The date commemorates the July 30, 1778 passage by the Continental Congress of the first whistleblower protection law.
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