IG Community Website Seeks to Encourage Federal Whistleblowers to Come Forward
On Tuesday, Inspector General of the Department of Justice Michael Horowitz spoke at the National Whistleblower Center’s annual celebration of National Whistleblower Day on Capitol Hill. He presented Oversight.gov’s newly redesigned website which he said will streamline whistleblower reports and seek to prevent retaliation before it happens.
The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) collaborated on the website, which launched earlier this week. The new website creates clear avenues for federal whistleblowers to come forward with information of wrongdoing.
The website offers whistleblowers the choice to access additional information to determine which agency covers the issue they are reporting. Or, whistleblowers can directly report information about fraud, waste, or abuse in a federal government agency, program, contract, or grant. If a whistleblower already reported wrongdoing internally and suffered retaliation, the website allows the filing of retaliation complaints.
In his speech, Horowitz said he and the rest of the intelligence community expect the new website to provide whistleblowers with one central place to report fraud, waste, and abuse. They hope this will increase the amount of reports coming into the intelligence community.
“The Department of Justice Inspector’s General is a flagship operation in trying to enhance the effectiveness of whistleblowers," leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn said. “We hope that the recognition of the need to protect federal whistleblowers will trigger congressional action to ensure all federal employees have their retaliation cases heard.”
Kohn said he endorses the new website, but still highly recommends whistleblowers to seek legal help before moving forward with their actions.
“Whistleblowers should be cautious when using this resource,” Kohn added. “The procedures and manners used to blow the whistle can determine whether you are protected under the law.”