Conscientious workers at the Veterans Health Administration aware of their employer’s reputation for punishing people who expose wrongdoing were given a new outlet last week.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America unveiled an encrypted web submission form Thursday soliciting horror stories in the wake of a nationwide furor about fudged wait time records and related veteran deaths in Phoenix.
POGO Director of Communications Joe Newman says the groups are looking for systematic problems and received 310 submissions as of Monday morning. The majority of reports are thus far from veterans and members of the public, and less than 10 percent are from VA employees, Newman says.
A few appear promising, but POGO plans to carefully vet allegations before moving forward.
Blowing the whistle with the help of interested nonprofits is perfectly legal, three attorneys who specialize in whistleblowing law tell U.S. News.
And using a third party to snitch on bad behavior may be well worth considering.
“In short, VA employees can still be protected if they go to nonprofits or the press rather than the agency,” says Cornell Law School professor Stewart Schwab. “This is particularly so when there has been a pattern of unresponsiveness.”
What the whistleblowers can expect is a hostile media that has surrounded their Precious to come after them. Used to be a time in this country when whistleblowers were lauded and had movies made about them. Those days ended January 20, 2009. Now they must be destroyed.