Congress Supports, Encourages Whistleblower Efforts

Beyond the Numbers

Date: 
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Posted by: 
The Communications Division

Congress has whistleblowers’ backs.

Government employees who “blow the whistle” on misconduct or abuse within their agency can, at times, face blowback or retaliation within their own ranks.

In a sign of support and encouragement for whistleblowers, the Senate recently passed a bipartisan resolution to acknowledge whistleblower efforts to shed light on fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement throughout government.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley introduced the resolution, which designates July 30, 2016 as National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.

“Our Founding Fathers recognized that whistleblowers, our eyes and ears in government, are essential to ensuring that government is functioning properly and efficiently,” Grassley said, after the resolution passed on July 7. “This resolution signals our unified commitment to support and encourage whistleblowers, whose efforts save taxpayers billions of dollars each year and lead to a more accountable government.”

The OIG reviews whistleblower allegations that it receives from Social Security employees through its Fraud Hotline. Whistleblowers might allege mismanagement, waste of funds, abuse of authority, specific danger to public health or safety, and other violations within their agency.  

Federal law protects government employees who submit whistleblower allegations from potential retaliation by their supervisors; for example, a significant change in duties or a disciplinary action. 

Further, OIG Chief Counsel Joseph Gangloff serves as SSA’s Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman. In this role, he and the Office of Counsel educate Social Security employees about their rights and protections from retaliation if they report instances of abuse or misconduct within SSA.

You can learn much more about whistleblower allegations, protections, and OIG outreach efforts at our Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman page.  

The Senate resolution highlights the United States’ history of supporting and encouraging whistleblowers, dating back to the days of the Continental Congress. Legislation passed by that body on July 30, 1778—238 years ago—stated that government employees have a duty to report misconduct, fraud, and other crimes in government to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and members of the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus co-sponsored the resolution.