USA Today recently published the following article “Trump’s allies want to ID the whistleblower, who may learn the price of speaking out“.
Here are our my thoughts.
Shortly after signing the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress passed a resolution for whistleblower protection. Some sailor and marines blew the whistle on a commander of the navy during the war with Great Britain. They reported the problems to the Continental Congress and were prosecuted for it. The Continental Congress not only passed the resolution supporting blowing the whistle on such abuse (calling it a “duty”), but it passed a subsequent resolution to pay the costs of their defense.
Another major whistleblower legislation was passed in 1863 during the Civil War. The False Claims Act also known as the Lincoln Law allowed private citizens to sue on behalf of the government to recover for false claims and fraud against the government. This law was significantly revised in 1985 and has become the government’s number one tool for prosecuting fraud against the United States. Whistleblowers recover from 15% to 30% of what the government receives and cases under the False Claims Act have brought in $60 billion since it was revamped in 1985.
Various state and federal agencies have passed whistleblower protections and evinced a consensus that whistleblowers play a crucial role in ferreting out fraud, waste, and abuse in our system. In 1985, when Congress was considering one of the oldest and most robust whistleblower statutes (the False Claims Act), it noted that the act was underutilized in large part because of fear of retaliation. That is perhaps the number one deterrent to people shinning a light on corruption and illicit dealings. From July 30, 1778 to the present, America has agreed to protect people who are willing to bring bad things to light.
We absolutely need to continue this protection. I’m fighting for this daily.