National Whistleblower Appreciation Day


Where were you on July 30, 2016?

The United States Senate unanimously declared July 30, 2016 as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day” in a resolution adopted on July 7, 2016. It stated

“. . . in 1777, before the passage of the Bill of Rights,10 sailors and marines blew the whistle on fraud and misconduct harmful to the United States. . . . the Founding Fathers unanimously supported the whistleblowers in words and deeds, including by releasing government records and providing monetary assistance for reasonable legal expenses necessary to prevent retaliation against the whistleblowers. . . . on July 30, 1778, in demonstration of their full support for whistleblowers, the members of the Continental Congress unanimously enacted the first whistle blower legislation in the United States that read: ‘Resolved, That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other [of] the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of  any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge’”

The 2016 resolution further provided:

“. . . . it is the public policy of the United States to encourage, in accordance with Federal law (including the Constitution, rules, and regulations) and consistent with the protection of classified information (including sources and methods of detection of classified information), honest and good faith reporting of misconduct, fraud, misdemeanors, and all other crimes to the appropriate authorities at the earliest time possible. . .”

The resolution was cosponsored by Grassley and Wyden as well as senators Mark Kirk of Illinois, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Tom Carper of Delaware, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Barbara Boxer of California, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Gary Peters of Michigan and John Boozman of Arkansas. These senators are members of the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus launched in 2015 to raise awareness of the need for adequate protections against retaliation for private sector and government employees who call attention to wrongdoing.  The caucus’ mission is to foster bipartisan discussion on legislative issues affecting the treatment of whistleblowers and serve as a clearinghouse for current information on whistleblower developments as well as best practices for responding to whistleblower disclosures and claims of retaliation. In the press release, Ron Wyden is quoted as saying: “Whistleblowers are still experiencing retaliation for their bravery in shedding light on threats to public safety and wasted taxpayer dollars.  The Senate is now on record recognizing the obligation Congress has to fight for fair treatment for these courageous workers and the risks they take. The Whistleblower Protection Caucus will keep fighting to make sure whistleblowers get fair treatment for speaking out.”

“Whistleblowing” has developed such a negative connotation (think stool pigeon, rat, tattletale, weasel, turncoat etc.) that the ACFE renamed its award to Sentinel Award.

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