Shanna Devine to head whistleblower ombudsman office

Posted Posted in advocacy, in the news

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has appointed Shanna Devine the first Director of a new office in the House of Representatives,  the Office of the Whistleblower Ombudsman.

The House Office of Whistleblower Ombudsman will provide best practices and trainings for offices of the House on whistleblower intake, which include establishing an effective reporting system for whistleblowers, maintaining whistleblower confidentiality, advising staff of relevant laws and policies and protecting information provided by whistleblowers.  – Speaker of the House February 14, 2020 Press Release

Ms. Devine is well-known to many whistleblowers and organizations that work with whistleblowers, including the Whistleblower Support Fund, through her previous work at the Government Accountability Project and Public Citizen.

Throughout her career, Devine has worked with Congress to strengthen whistleblower protections and communications.  She has led campaigns for passage of landmark whistleblower laws, including Congress’s unanimous passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012.  She has extensive experience conducting trainings on best practices for working with whistleblowers, and in 2015 and 2016 she played a strategic role in the establishment of the bipartisan Congressional Whistleblower Protection Caucuses.  Since 2008, Devine has worked with whistleblowers to unearth abuses within the public and private sector, and to safely channel their disclosures to Congress.

The Whistleblower Support Fund commends Speaker Pelosi on her excellent choice and congratulates Ms. Devine on her appointment to a position that offers fresh opportunities to serve the nation and its courageous truth-tellers.

Commentary on the Ukraine Controversy by Dr. Don Soeken

Posted Posted in commentary

The Baltimore Sun has published a commentary by Dr. Donald Soeken, founder and president of the Whistleblower Support Fund, who observes “the Ukraine controversy serves as a painful – but also very hopeful – reminder that ‘speaking the truth to power’ is often a crucial step in defending our liberties and protecting the rule of law.”

While working as a U.S. Public Health Service social worker in Washington, D.C., in the late 1970s, Soeken blew the whistle on forced fitness-for-duty psychiatric examinations of federal workers. Those targeted by the exams, he found, included whistleblowers. (more…)

Trump’s Space Force rejects whistleblower protections

Posted Posted in in the news
Challenger space shuttle crew remains await transport to Dover AFB. [NASA photo, 1986.]

President Trump’s proposal for a Space Force to assure US military dominance in space has come under fire for its proposed personnel system, an alleged “merit-based” system that would give fired employees no right of appeal or external review.  The Federal News Network quotes AFGE National President J. David Cox, who observed that “an employee or whistleblower adhering to his or her oath of office could be terminated at will.” That would seem to violate the Constitutional oath every elected official and federal employee takes. (Cross-posted from WhistleblowingToday.org.) (more…)