Last month marked the 239th anniversary of our nation’s first whistleblower protection law. Longtime whistleblower advocate, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) noted that Congress passed the law July 30, 1778. They did so after realizing the need to protect civilians who risked their safety and security to warn lawmakers of fraud and misconduct carried out by those working for or providing a service to the U.S. government during the Revolutionary War.
The Senate formally recognized the contributions of these brave relators in 2013, thanks to Sen. Grassley’s leadership. The body unanimously passed a resolution designating July 30 as National Whistleblower Day as a tribute to that first law and in recognition of the sacrifices and important contributions whistleblowers have made for the country. Senators also established the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus to raise awareness about and build on protections for whistleblowers including maintaining unanimous support for National Whistleblower Day, which was recently reaffirmed in the 2017 Senate resolution.
Whistleblowers, in effect, are revealing inside knowledge they have of some potential wrongdoing by their employer that affects the U.S. government. As ordinary citizens, whistleblowers risk their careers, livelihood, reputation and more by telling the truth and upholding their civic duty.
While whistleblowers save U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, they may not always receive the appreciation they deserve. However, because of the False Claims Act, which was the successor to the 1778 law and was enacted during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, they are afforded certain protections, as discussed in my law partner Lance C. Gould’s book, Whistleblowers: A Brief History & A Guide to Getting Started.
A recent whistleblower case demonstrates how whistleblowers’ courage can have more serious implications including on matters of national security. My law partner, Larry Golston, recalls how his client Blake Percival’s actions made our country safer.
Mr. Percival worked for a government contractor, U.S. Investigation Services (USIS), when he discovered the company was fraudulently bilking the government out of payments for background checks it did not perform. The background checks were for federal job applicants seeking security clearances and it is estimated that the fraud affected more than 650,000 background checks. USIS was responsible for conducting background checks on Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency, as well as Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter.
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Are you aware of fraud being committed against the federal government, or a state government? If so, you may be protected and rewarded for doing the right thing by reporting the fraud. If you have any questions about whether you qualify as a whistleblower, please contact an attorney at Beasley Allen for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. There is a contact form on this website, or you may email one of the lawyers on our whistleblower litigation team: Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould or Andrew Brashier.
Senator Charles Grassley