Here’s an obvious question concerning fraud, waste and abuse within the federal government realm: What person will report it if he or she risks serious reprisal from an employer for doing so?
Wrongdoing within the federal sphere takes broad-based forms. Agency decision makers exercise their authority in unlawful ways. Project managers mismanage funds. Fraud occurs in the bidding process, in efforts to cut concerns in safety initiatives, in the appropriation of publicly provided assets for personal gain and more.
Such behavior and actions obviously harm American taxpayers. The fraud they work upon the general public equates to stealing and diminishes trust in government officials and programs.
Individuals with an inside perspective on wrongdoing in federal agencies and other government work locales perform a vitally important service when they step forward to report malfeasance. Understandably, they will hesitate to do so if their protections against retaliation are inadequate or even flatly absent. Who will speak up against illegal acts if the likely result for doing so is personal detriment suffered at the workplace via managers’ discriminatory behavior, job demotion, subpar performance reports, wage cuts and other harmful responses?
So-called “whistleblowing” responders to illegal government actions have been prominently spotlighted in recent years. The key role they play in pointing out and helping to deter material fraud against the public is now well recognized, and authorities have taken actions to safeguard them against personal reprisals for doing so.
We will take a detailed look at two pieces of federal legislation that chronicle whistleblower protections in our next blog post.