2009 National Whistleblower Assembly

The 2009 National Whistleblower Assembly was held March 8-11 in Washington, D.C.  Resources for those interested in the conference are listed below.

About the NWA

The National Whistleblower Assembly is an annual conference sponsored by members and supporters of the Make It Safe Coalition. The 2009 conference was co-sponsored by the following organizations:

Government Accountability Project
Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest
International Association of Whistleblowers
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Whistleblowers Center
Project On Government Oversight
Public Citizen
Union of Concerned Scientists
University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law

Sponsors of individual events include:

Alliance for Justice
Center for Lobbying in the Interest
Disaster Accountability Project
FAA Whistleblower Alliance
Government Accountability Project
International Association of Whistleblowers
Dr. James J. Murtagh
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Whistleblowers Center
NoFEAR Coalition
Op-Ed News
OSC Watch
Parent Advocates
Project on Government Oversight
Public Citizen
Mr. David Ross
Semmelweis Society
Union of Concerned Scientists


Invitation

National Whistleblower Assembly: “Ending the Dark Ages: Turning on the Lights Together”

We are pleased to invite you to attend this year’s National Whistleblower Assembly, organized by the Make it Safe Coalition. Individual co-sponsors include the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW), the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC), Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL).

The National Whistleblower Assembly will be held in Washington, DC, from Sunday March 8 to Wednesday March 11, 2009.
This year’s Assembly has four cornerstone objectives:

1. Matchmaking for solidarity and ongoing working relationships between whistleblowers and those who should benefit from their dissent, such as NGO’s, investigative journalists and government investigators;
2. Lobbying Congress to upgrade its rhetorical commitments for stronger whistleblower protection into reality, from completion of legislation pending nine years to overhaul the Whistleblower Protection Act, to comprehensive corporate rights expanding on five precedents in the last Congress
3. Providing “street law” so that whistleblowers learn how to use and act on their rights under new whistleblower laws; and
4. Providing a living history forum where whistleblowers can make a record of why they risked their careers to defend the public, and what happened.

The National Whistleblower Assembly will kick-off with a plenary session comprised of whistleblowers and government leaders. The Assembly will strategize on how to assist and help hold our leaders to President Obama’s commitment made his first day in office:

“Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.”

We encourage all 264 organizations and corporations that signed the Whistleblower Protection Act sign-on letter to join us! We are already bonded by a shared principle that “whistleblower protection is a foundation for any change in which the public can believe. It does not matter whether the issue is economic recovery, prescription drug safety, environmental protection, infrastructure spending, national health insurance, or foreign policy.”

Theme-based workshops will facilitate a constructive dialogue to break the pattern of isolation between NGOs and whistleblowers, covering a diverse range of topics, which can be found at www.makeitsafecampaign.org.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, the Government Accountability Project, and the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest will provide a comprehensive lobby training prior to our direct legislative advocacy. Please note that participants will lobby in small groups, through scheduled appointments with the home state office when possible, to advocate for “best practices” whistleblower rights.

The National Whistleblower Assembly is opened to the public and free of charge; however, we welcome and encourage your financial support. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation through the Government Accountability Project. Please write “2009 NWA” in the designation/memo fields to ensure your contribution supports the National Whistleblower Assembly.

 

Schedule

*Event/Session Sponsor

Sunday, March 8, 2009
Location: University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
4200 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. (VanNess Metro Stop)

8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Registration and Light Breakfast
Location: Building 39, L2

9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Welcoming remarks provided by Joe Libertelli, Director of Alumni Relations at UDC School of Law. Dr. James Murtagh will introduce and present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, Tobacco Industry Whistleblower profiled in The Insider.
Location: Building 39, L2, Rm. 201

9:35 a.m. to 10:35 a.m.: Concurrent Sessions
Location: Building 39, L2
Panel 1: Protecting Food Integrity: The role of whistleblowing in assuring the safety of the Nation’s food supply *Government Accountability Project, Rm. 204
Workshop 1: Medical Fraud *Semmelweis Society, Rm. 202
Workshop 2: Disaster Accountability and Whistle-Blowing in Government and Voluntary Organizations *Disaster Accountability Project, Rm. 203

10:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
Location: Building 39, L2
Panel 2: Obama’s FDA: Priorities for reform and strategies for taking action *GAP, AFJ, POGO, David Ross Rm. 201
Workshop 3: Air Safety FAA Whistleblower Alliance *FAA Whistleblower Alliance Rm. 204
Workshop 4: Organizing for Social Change*International Association of Whistleblowers Rm. 202

12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Lunch and Keynote Address featuring Coleen Rowley, FBI Whistleblower and Time Co-Person of the Year, National Security Panel *National Whistleblowers Center
Location: Building 38, L2, Window Room

1:35 p.m. to 2:35 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
Location: Building 39, L2
Street-Law 1: New Whistleblower Rights Breakthrough *Government Accountability Project Rm. 204
Workshop 5: Media Training *Op-Ed News, Parent Advocates Rm. 208
Workshop 6: Anthrax whistle blowers repressed – a case study Rm. 202

2:40 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
Location: Building 39, L2
Street-Law 2: Using OSHA Laws to Remedy Retaliation *National Employment
Lawyers Association Rm. 201. Moderated by Richard Renner
Street-Law 3: How to Navigate OSC *Government Accountability Project, OSC Watch Rm. 202
Workshop 7: Whistleblower Personality, Expert Witness and Resources for Whistleblowers, Part I Rm. 204

3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
Location: Building 39, L2
Workshop 8: Whistleblower Protection from Criminal Retaliation Rm. 203
Workshop 7 cont: Whistleblower Personality, Expert Witness and Resources for Whistleblowers, Part II Rm. 204

4:50 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions:
Location: Building 39, L2
Street-Law 4: Civil Rights Tax Relief Act *National Employment Lawyers
Association Rm. 204
Workshop 9: National Whistleblower Protection Act: A Comprehensive Law Protecting Whistleblowers *National Whistleblowers Center Rm. 201

5:50 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closing Remarks
Location: Building 39, L2, Rm 201

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Evening Gathering. Relax over food, drinks and live music.
Location: Ireland’s Four Fields Restaurant and Pub, 3412 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington DC 20008. Located one block South of the Cleveland Metro stop *Not a pre-paid or sponsored event

Monday, March 9, 2009

9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Plenary Session
Location: 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC

9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Welcoming remarks and introduction of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), provided by Tom Devine, Legal Director of the Government Accountability Project. The Senator will be presented with an award at this time
9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Keynote address delivered by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Address by Stephen Kohn, President of the National Whistleblowers Center, on equal rights for national security whistleblowers
9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen, by Tom Devine
10:00 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. Remarks by honored speaker Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who will be introduced by Mark Cohen, Executive Director of the Government Accountability Project. The Congressman will be presented with an award at this time

10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: Lobby Training *Union of Concerned Scientists, Government Accountability Project, Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest

Location: 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC

1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Concurrent Lobby Appointments
Location: U.S. House of Representatives

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Evening Reception & Movies *Hosted by Dr. James J. Murtagh
Location: Stewart R. Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave, NE Washington, DC 20008

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Congressional Awards Ceremony: Opening remarks by Francesca Grifo, Director of the Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
Location: 385 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Panel: “Domestic Surveillance: Next Steps”, featuring DoJ Whistleblower Thomas Tamm *Government Accountability Project
Location: 385 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Predatory Lending and Mortgage Fraud Workshop*International Association of Whistleblowers
Location: 385 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC

1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Concurrent Lobby Appointments
Location: U.S. Senate

5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Movie Night and Book Signing *Semmelweis Society
Location: Warehouse Theatre and Café, 1021 7th St., NW Washington, DC 20001

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
*Please note, due to participant availability, the last two events, Debriefing and Open-Mike, were merged into the morning and lunch program

9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Whistleblower Living History Forum *Government Accountability Project, No Fear Institute, Location: 1539 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. NWA Debriefing and Next Steps
Tentative Location: Government Accountability Project, 1612 K Street NW Washington DC

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Open-Mike Night
Tentative Location: UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

 

Addresses

Sunday Opening

Posted on March 2, 2009 by admin

Welcoming remarks provided by Joe Libertelli, Director of Alumni Relations at UDC School of Law. Dr. James Murtagh will introduce and present a Lifetime Acheivment Award to Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, Tobacco Industry Whistleblower profiled in The Insider.

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

Location: Building 39, L2, Rm. 201, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Sunday Keynote

Posted on March 2, 2009 by admin

Coleen Rowley, FBI Whistleblower and Time’s Co-Person of the Year, will present the keynote address at a luncheon, followed by the Panel on National Security.

Sponsor: National Whistleblowers Center

Time: 12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

Location: Building 38, L2, Window Room, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Monday Plenary Session

Posted on March 2, 2009 by admin

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 10:10 a.m., Monday, March 9, 2009
Location: 562 Dirksen Office Building, Washington DC

9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Welcoming remarks and introduction of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), provided by Tom Devine, Legal Director of the Government Accountability Project. The Senator will be presented with an award at this time

9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Keynote address delivered by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Address by Stephen Kohn, President of the National Whistleblowers Center, on equal rights for national security whistleblowers

9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen, by Tom Devine

10:00 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. Remarks by honored speaker Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who will be introduced by Mark Cohen, Executive Director of the Government Accountability Project

Other Events

Whistleblower Living History Forum

Sponsor:  Government Accountability Project, in conjuction with No Fear Institute
Location:  1539 Longworth House Office Building
Time:  9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2009

 

Government Accountability Project and

No Fear Institute

INVITE YOU TO

BEAR WITNESS AT THE

LIVING HISTORY DAY

OF THE NATIONAL WHISTLEBLOWER ASSEMBLY

March 11, 2009

            Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced a companion of the NO FEAR I law – namely No FEAR II.  In the next couple of weeks she Congresswoman Jackson Lee will also introduce the Congressional Disclosures Protection Act.  Together these pieces of legislation composed the No FEAR Legislative Initiatives. In addition, after nearly ten years of wandering the political wilderness, we are on the verge of passing a Whistleblower Protection Act that would be a legal revolution for freedom of speech by government workers. A National Whistleblower Assembly from March 8-11 will explore how we can effectively petition Congress to secure protection for whistleblowers and advocates of civil rights for federal employees.  The soul of this campaign is the experience of those who have risked and often lost their professional lives to serve the public, even when they do not have rights. That is why the climax of the assembly will be the March 11 Living History Forum, from 9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m, in 1539 Longworth House Office Building.  On that day, those who want to make a record of their stories can bear witness in three minute presentations. Congressional offices, the public and media will be invited. We will tape the sessions for web posting.

Be warned, however. You still do not have viable rights against retaliation for blowing the whistle, and you could face retaliation for telling your story.  If you are still employed, you may face retaliation as a result of your testimony.

If you still choose to testify, please send you request with identifying information to NoFearCoalition@aol.com and shannad@whistleblower.org. Caption your message “Living History testimony request”. Although additional requests can be received at the event, in case there is a time shortage participants will speak in the order the order their request was received.

At the conference, we will distribute all five page or less living histories that already are in writing. This may helpful, if you want to share your story but are unable to attend or want to do it anonymously. If you want to do it anonymously, however, be careful that even without your name. the facts of where you worked or what you are describing may be traceable back to you and be your “signature.” Further tips on camouflaging your identify can be found in The Art of Anonymous Activism, available through the publications page on GAP’s website, www.whistleblower.org.

See you soon!

Awards Ceremony

Congressional Awards Ceremony

Time:  9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Location: 385 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC

9:00 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. Opening remarks by Francesca Grifo, Director of the Scientific Integrity Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

9:10 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. Awards presented to congressional members, or a staff member on behalf of the congressional member, as well as “Staff of the Year” award

Lobby Training and Appointments

Lobby Training

Sponsors:  Union of Concerned Scientists, Government Accountability Project, Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest

Location:  562 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC

Time:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Monday, March 9, 2009

Concurrent Lobby Appointments

Location: U.S. House of Representatives

Time:  1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday, March 9, 2009

NWA Debriefing, Next Steps

Tentative Location: Government Accountability Project, 1612 K Street NW Washington DC

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Panels

Panel: National Security

(Concurrent with Lunch and  Keynote Address)

Sponsor:  National Whistleblowers Center

Location: Building 38, L2, Window Room, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

The National Security Panel will be a lunch discussion about the urgent need to push Congress to enact whistleblower protections for national security employees.  Congress excluded national security employees from whistleblower protection in 1978 and the public has been paying the price ever since.  Congress’ inaction has resulted in defense contractor fraud, faulty intelligence before the Iraq War and 9/11 attacks, and violations of civil liberties by programs such as the National Security Letters.

The panel will be moderated by national security whistleblower expert Stephen M. Kohn, President of the National Whistleblowers Center.  The panel will include various high-profile national security whistleblowers including FBI whistleblower and Time Magazine’s Co-person of the Year Coleen Rowley, FAA Red Team whistleblower Bogdan Dzakovic and Federal Air Marshal whistleblower Robert MacLean.

Conference Handouts

Related Links

National Whistleblowers Center

Panel: Domestic Surveillance: Next Steps

Sponsor:  Government Accountability Project

Location: 385 Russell Senate Office Building

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m, Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A one-hour panel discussion focusing on privacy rights, entitled “Domestic Surveillance: The Next Steps.” This panel will  feature key whistleblowers and leaders who have challenged warrant-less wiretapping since 2005 when it was first exposed. Moderated by GAP Homeland Security Director (and Justice Department whistleblower) Jesselyn Radack, the panel will focus on: the current FISA provisions; lawsuits against the DoJ regarding Office of Legal Counsel memos justifying the use of domestic surveillance; the Obama administration’s public stance on the matter; and what interested citizens, groups and politicians can do to ensure privacy rights. That panel will feature Thomas Tamm, a former Department of Justice attorney whose whistleblowing disclosure has revealed the full scope of surveillance; Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and Michael MacLeod-Ball, Chief Legislative and Policy Counsel for the ACLU.

Panel: Obama’s FDA

Priorities for reform and strategies for taking action

Sponsors: GAP, Alliance for Justice, Project On Government Oversight, David Ross

Location:  Rm. 201, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  10:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

This panel will bring together three experts to share their perspectives and engage in audience discussion on what are the top priorities for reform at the FDA, what they or their organizations are doing to make change, and how concerned citizens can get involved. The panel consist of Dr. Ned Fader of the Project on Government Oversight, Lisa Hayes of the Alliance for Justice, and  FDA whistleblowerDr. David Ross. Jonathan Cantú of GAP will moderate.

Social Events

Sunday Evening Gathering

Relax over food, drinks and live music.  (NOTE:  This is not a pre-paid or sponsored event.)

Location:  Ireland’s Four Fields Restaurant and Pub, 3412 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington DC  20008. Located one block South of the Cleveland Metro stop

Time:  6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reception and Movie (Monday)

Hosted by Dr. James J. Murtagh

Location:  Stewart R. Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave, NE Washington, DC 20008

Time:  5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday, March 9, 2009

Join us for light food,  movies and relaxation

Movie List:
Life for Sale, produced by Dr. Evelyn Li
Damaged Care- The Story of Linda Peeno

Movie Night and Book Signing (Tuesday)

Sponsor:  Semmelweis Society

Location:  Warehouse Theatre and Café, 1021 7th St., NW Washington, DC 20001

Time: 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Raising to the Occasion for Righteous Cause not for power– Lokesh Vuyyuru, MD

Movie List:
American Legacy, produced by Dr. Lokesh Vuyyuru
Serpico

Book Signing:
“Year of the Rhinoceros” novel by Michael Neff

Open-Mike Night (Wed.)

Tentative Location: UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Street Law Seminars

Street Law 1: New Whistleblower Rights Breakthroughs

From 9/11 to the Stimulus
Sponsor:  Government Accountability Project

Location:  Rm. 204, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  1:35 p.m. to 2:35 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

In 2002 Congress first gave whistleblowers access to juries in the Sarbanes Oxley law Now jury trials are almost a legal boilerplate for enforcement of whistleblower rights. This is the most exciting dimension of a pattern to pass stronger corporate and government contractor whistleblower laws, steadily raising the “best practices” bar. Since 2007 Congress has enacted or modified seven whistleblower laws in four statutes, including the stimulus bill. But despite its promise in theory, SOX has been a disaster in practice after a corporate legal blitz that effectively gutted its implementation. This workshop will discuss and brainstorm about lessons learned from SOX that have been integrated into the new corporate whistleblower laws; the nature of the upcoming struggle to sustain their free speech mandate; and the next chapter of legislative advocacy for a uniform, national corporate whistleblower law.

Street-Law 2: Using OSHA Laws to Remedy Retaliation

“Street Law” Strategies for Effective Whistleblowing

Sponsor:  National Employment Lawyers Association

Location:  Rm. 201, Building 39, L2

Time: 2:40 p.m. to 3:40 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

Speakers
Jason Zuckerman, The Employment Law Group, P.C.
Paul O. Taylor, Truckers Justice Center Justice
Nilgun Tolek, Office of Whistleblower Protection Program, United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration

This workshop will provide an overview of the whistleblower laws administered by OSHA in the areas of environmental, transportation, financial and workplace safety whistleblowing . Listen as our panel of whistleblower experts will explain how employees can take action before retaliation for whistleblowing occurs.  Attendees will learn effective tools for developing and preserving evidence, as well as information for effective presentation of whistleblower claims to OSHA for non-attorneys.  Attendees will also be provided information concerning what types of retaliation merit pursuit of claims.

The panel will include these and other key questions:

What types of actions are considered by OSHA to be “materially adverse” retaliation for which an employee can bring a whistleblower claim to OSHA?
When are the most effective methods for obtaining and preserving evidence?
What types of evidence does OSHA consider to support whistleblower claims?
What types of evidence does OSHA consider when determining whether whistleblower had a “good faith belief” that a violation of the law has occurred?
What are the steps for employee to follow to avoid creating a reason for the employer to fire a whistleblower?
What are the best methods for presentation of a retaliation claim to OSHA
How should whistleblowers deal with co-workers when gathering evidence to support a whistleblower claim?

.

Street-Law 3: How to Navigate OSC

Sponsors:  Government Accountablity Project, OSC Watch

Location:  Rm. 202, Building 39, L2

Time:  2:40 p.m. to 3:40 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

OSC Watch claims US Office of Special Counsel is a 30 year-long fraud as a federal law enforcement agency, responsible to protect federal employees from agency lawbreaking.  This workshop will discuss the basis of those claims and ways OSC Watch is trying to expose OSC’s fraud.

Conference handouts

“Petition to the United States Congress” (Download PDF file]

Related links

OSC Watch

Street-Law 4: Civil Rights Tax Relief Act

Sponsor:  Richard Renner, National Employment Lawyers Association

Location:  Rm. 204, Building 39, L2, UDC  David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  4:50 p.m. to 5:50 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

Workshops

Workshop 1: Protecting Food Integrity

The role of whistleblowing in assuring the safety of the Nation’s food supply
Sponsor:  Amanda Hitt, Government Accountability Project

Location:  Rm. 204, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  9:35 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

The workshop will cover current issues facing our food safety and inspection systems in the food industry. Workshop attendees will interact with representatives from consumer protection organizations, employees of government meat inspection teams, and representatives of labor.  Attendees can expect to learn about government oversight of the industry, areas of improvement in the agency/industry, the importance of adequate whistleblower protection in bringing to light those problem areas and insuring both agency and industry accountability.

Workshop 2: Medical Fraud

Sponsor:  Semmelweis Society

Location:  Rm. 202, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  9:35 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

US hospitals now control more than 18% of the US economy. In the highly competitive market, cutting ethical/legal corners is now recognized as endemic. To enable fraud, hospitals must retaliate against whistleblowers, and creative means to ruin doctors careers have emerged. Patient care suffers, costs rise, quality and safety go down. Preventible medical errors are now a leading cause of death, and fraud at hospitals is a huge burden on US taxpayers and insurance payers. Corruption in hospitals serves as a paradigm of corruption within other industries. Because hospitals are often a dominant industry within any community, hospitals have a huge influence on judicial, political and media structures. Change is coming in the Obama administration, and this workshop will focus on capitalizing on the new change environment.

Workshop 3: Disaster Accountability

Disaster Accountability and Whistle-Blowing in Government and Voluntary Organizations
Sponsor: Disaster Accountability

Location:  Project Rm. 203, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  9:35 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

How can whistle-blowers improve disaster preparedness, response, relief, and recovery systems real-time? Learn more about the Disaster Accountability Project, how the organization was started, what the organization is doing with the information it receives, and ways the organization is trying to improve transparency and public accountability of U.S. disaster management systems.

Workshop 4: Air Safety

Sponsor:  Gabe Bruno, FAA Whistleblower Alliance

Location:  Rm. 202, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  10:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., Sundary, March 8, 2009

This session will describe the newly formed FAA Whistleblower Alliance, its purpose, and how the group functions.  We will discuss our goals and how through our partnership with GAP, we are supporting effective whistleblower legislation.  There will be examples of FAA whistleblower cases currently in process.

Workshop 5: Civil Disobedience

A Historical Perspective on the Worker’s Rights, Civil Rights and Human Rights Movements

Sponsor:  International Association of Whistleblowers

Location:  Rm. 204, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  10:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

Speakers:
Matthew Fogg, Co-Chair of the No FEAR Coalition and former Board Member of Amnesty International
Marcel Reid, DC-Chair of ACORN and member of the ACORN 8
Bob Brown, President of Pan-African Roots

Synopsis: Was Thoreau and Gandhi right? Are we willing to write letters from a Birmingham jail? Has our government so violated basic laws and human rights that civil disobedience is the only option?

Often times there appears to be a disconnect between what is considered “whistleblowing” and traditional civil rights / Title VII advocacy. Many mainstream individuals who find themselves at odds with major corporations or the government due to whistleblowing; do not know, understand or avail themselves of basic community organizing tools, techniques or resources. Many people do not comprehend the historical perspective of organizing for social change as a part of (and not in lieu of) legislative advocacy or judicial reform.

This informative workshop will help the whistleblowing community understand the connection between the labor movement, civil rights movement and human rights movements in America and across the globe. And whistleblowers to utilize traditional community organizing tools, techniques and resources to support important whistleblowing legislation.

Goals of this session:
Amnesty International began from a letter writing campaign. Leaders in the civil rights movement were influenced by the global human rights struggle but learned from the labor movement.

Workshop 6: Media Training

Sponsors:  Op-Ed News, Parent Advocates

Location:  Rm. 208, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  1:35 p.m. to 2:35 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

Workshop 7: Anthrax whistleblowers repressed

A case study
Location:  Rm. 202, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  1:35 p.m. to 2:35 p.m., Sunday, March 8. 2009

A workshop to develop techniques, ideas and contacts to reach potential whistle blowers in the bio-defense establishment, called “Anthrax whistle blowers repressed – a case study”

Workshop 8: Whistleblower Support

Featuring:  Dr. Donald Soeken, Whistleblower Support Fund
Case studies by several whistleblowers and panelist

Location:  Rm. 204, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  Sunday, March 8, 2009

  • Part I: 2:40 p.m. to 3:40 p.m.
  • Part II:  3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

It’s a rare whistleblower who doesn’t feel the pain of working in a hostile environment day after day.  Even after leaving the job, the pain doesn’t go away.  Unemployment, lost dreams, and shattered relationships may continue to sap one’s health and joy. This two part session will examine the whistleblower personality and focus on approaches to survive the process. These sessions offer whistleblowers a unique opportunity to talk with experts and peers in a casual setting about their whistleblowing experiences and how to minimize negative impacts on their lives.  Guided by clinical social worker Dr. Donald Soeken, participants will learn techniques for relieving stress and explore how to turn disappointments into a happier and more fulfilling life.  In a part of the second session the Whistleblower Archive and Collection will be described and a request for whistleblower case material will be requested.

Related Links

Don Soeken, Integrity International

Workshop 9: Whistleblower Protection from Criminal Retaliation

Location:   Rm. 203, Building 39, L2, David A. Clarke School of Law

Time:  3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

The ugliest form of whistleblower retaliation has gone from being a rare outrage to a common tactic: prosecuting whistleblowers when it is not realistic to fire them. Recently, Department of Energy whistleblower Martin Salazar was imprisoned for signing “false” statements in a settlement papers drafted by the Department of Energy, after he defeated a DOE attempt to terminate him. He previously had been threatened with prosecution for backing another whistleblower facing the same threat. Currently, vengeful bureaucrats can pursue this option with near impunity. Whistleblower laws do not cover the criminal retaliation. Using the Salazar case as the base, this workshop will plan a counterattack ranging from tactics to free Marin Salazar, to legislative reform to prevent these ultimate injustices from recurring.

Conference Handouts

“When Public Servants Become Enemies of the State.” [Download PDF file]

Workshop 10: A National Whistleblower Protection Act:  A Comprehensive Law Protecting Whistleblowers

A Comprehensive Law Protecting Whistleblowers

Sponsor:  National Whistleblowers Center

Location:  Rm. 201, Building 39, L2, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Time: 4:50 p.m. to 5:50 p.m., Sunday, March 8, 2009

The session will focus on — (1)what provisions need to be included for a national whistleblower protection act; (2)  why these provisions are needed; and (3)  what should not be in the law. The session will provide a detailed explanation to the community about an effective national whistleblower protection law would look like.  The model presented could be used by any state or local government.

Workshop 11: Mortgage Fraud

Predatory Lending and Mortgage Fraud Workshop

Sponsor:  International Association of Whistleblowers

Location:  385 Russell Senate Office Building

Time:  11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The recent Sub-Prime and Global Market Collapses have resulted in billions (if not trillions) of dollars in financial losses to the general public. Predatory and fraudulent loans have been securitized packaged and sold on national and international financial markets. The resulting defaults and losses have potentially plunged the United States into a global recession. Unfortunately, these devastating losses could have been mitigated or avoided if regulators and law enforcement had headed the warnings of consumer advocates and whistleblowers relating to Predatory Lending and Mortgage Fraud.

Predatory lending does not affect just little old ladies anymore; many mortgage fraud cases involve millions of dollars of public financing and the national securities markets. A major contributor to this problem is the lack of local law enforcement and judicial apathy. The problem is that many small loans of dubious origins and/or containing predatory or fraudulent features are “packaged” and allowed to be sold to unsuspecting investors. Like other “white collar” crimes, local law enforcement officials ignore allegations of predatory lending or mortgage fraud for a variety of reasons; some of which include racism, bias and public corruption. The lack of effective law and judicial enforcement of these underlying loans has resulted in billions, if not trillions, of dollars in consumer losses and the impending global recession.

The Congress Against Racism and Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE), Power Over Poverty Under Laws of America Restored (POPULAR) and the Government Accountability Project (GAP) have joined forces with other grassroots consumer advocacy groups and initiated a National Predatory Lending and Mortgage Fraud Taskforce. In this presentation, the sponsors will present unusual victims of mortgage fraud, grassroots advocates, and banking and finance professionals to discuss current trends in the banking and finance industry and the need for stronger judicial and law enforcement engagement to combat this problem. Example cases will highlight the depth and breadth of the mortgage fraud epidemic and emphasis the need for federal intervention at the grassroots level for this important matter. Invited guest will include – small business advocates, residential and consumer advocates, law enforcement, banking and finance companies, judges and individual victims of the mortgage fraud epidemic. Suggested invitees include:

Matthew Fogg, Chief Deputy Marshall

CARCLE (President)

Marcel Reid, President

DC ACORN (President)

Courtney Dillard / Dillard-Winecoff

Dillard-Winecoff Boutique Hotel

Patricia Callahan

American Association of Small Property Owners (President)

Michael McCray, Esq.

Co-chair IAW

Jonathan Taylor / Howard Theater

KUMASE Development Company

Tom Wilcox, Esq.

IRS Whistleblower

 

Donors and Special Advisors

The Make It Safe Coalition thanks the following individuals and organizations for their generous contributions of time, money, resources and services in support of the 2009 National Whistleblower Assembly.

Special advisors

Coleen Rowley
Jeff Wigand
Linda Peeno
Tom Devine
Stephen Kohn

Donors

Organizations

International Association of Whistleblowers
Government Accountability Project
OSC Watch
The Employment Law Group, P.C.
Truckers Justice Institute
Union of Concerned Scientists
*New Media Mill is filming select programs

Individuals

Dr. James J. Murtagh
Blake Moore
Joe Carson

Speakers

In order of appearance:

Dr. Jeffrey Wigand

Dr. Wigand earned academic degrees with distinction from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a Masters Degree in Secondary Education (MAT) from the University of Louisville.

For four years Dr. Wigand taught Japanese and Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physical Sciences) at duPont Manual High School, a national school of academic excellence, in Louisville, Kentucky. He received national recognition for his teaching skills when he was awarded the Sallie Mae FIRST CLASS TEACHER of the YEAR in 1996. He was one of 51 teachers recognized nationwide.

Dr. Wigand has always been a teacher, but not always in the classroom. He held senior management positions with a number of leading health care companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, and then served as Vice President for Research and Development for Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation from December 1988 to March 1993. After his separation from Brown & Williamson, Dr. Wigand cooperated with governmental agencies investigating the tobacco industry. Dr. Kessler, the former Commissioner of the FDA, has acknowledged that Dr. Wigand’s assistance was central to the FDA’s investigation into the role and effect of nicotine in tobacco products.

In 1995 Dr. Wigand achieved national prominence when he became the tobacco industry’s highest ranking former executive to address public health and smoking issues. He made the truth known to the public about the industry’s disregard for health and safety during an interview with 60 MINUTES and during a deposition he was compelled to give in an action against the tobacco companies.

A lawsuit was filed against him by Brown & Williamson because of his public disclosures about the industry’s efforts to minimize the health and safety issue of tobacco use. (Louisville-based Brown & Williamson is owned by BAT Industries, Plc, the world’s second largest tobacco concern.) The lawsuit was dismissed as a condition of the June 20, 1997 historic $368 billion settlement between the Attorneys General of 40 States and the tobacco industry.

Dr. Wigand has received numerous awards and public recognition for his action in revealing tobacco company research and marketing practices and he continues his efforts to reduce teen tobacco use through the non-profit organization he formed, SMOKE-FREE KIDS, Inc.

Coleen Rowley

In May of 2002 Rowley brought some of the pre 9-11 lapses to light and testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about some of the endemic problems facing the FBI and the intelligence community. Rowley’s memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller in connection with the Joint Intelligence Committee’s Inquiry led to a two year long Department of Justice Inspector General investigation. She was one of three whistleblowers chosen as persons of the year by TIME magazine.

In April 2003, following an unsuccessful and highly criticized attempt to warn the Director and other administration officials about the dangers of launching the invasion of Iraq, Rowley stepped down from her (GS-14) legal position to go back to being a (GS-13) FBI Special Agent. She retired from the FBI at the end of 2004 and now speaks publicly to various groups, ranging from school children to business/professional/civic groups, on two different topics: ethical decision-making and “balancing civil liberties with the need for effective investigation.”

In February 2005, a majority of Minnesota congresspersons and senators nominated Rowley to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board but she was not selected by the Bush Administration. This Board was mandated by 2004 federal intelligence reform legislation implementing the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission.

Rowley has authored a chapter in a book published by the Milton Eisenhower Foundation entitled, Patriotism, Democracy and Common Sense: Restoring America’s Promise at Home and Abroad and she also blogs on the Huffington Post.  She also ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District in 2006.

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

(from the Senator’s official website)

Claire McCaskill is a 4th-generation Missourian who has spent her entire life in the Show-Me State. Born in Rolla and raised in Lebanon and Columbia, Claire has never forgotten her roots. Claire’s first home was Houston, Missouri, where her father William worked at the McCaskill feed mill. Later, the family moved to Lebanon, hometown of Claire’s mother, Betty Anne, where her mother’s family ran the corner drugstore in town.

After another move, Claire attended Hickman High School in Columbia, while her father served as a state insurance commissioner and her mother became Columbia’s first woman city council member. At Hickman High School, Claire graduated near the top of her class and was deeply involved in student activities, while also working in a fabric store since she sewed many of her own clothes.

The day after graduation, Claire left town for a job busing tables at Lodge of the Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks. Waitressing for six years helped Claire work her way through college and law school at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Claire clerked for the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City and then got a job as an assistant prosecutor in Kansas City, where she was a felony trial prosecutor handling sex crimes, homicides, and specializing in arson cases. In 1982, McCaskill won a seat in the State Legislature. She juggled the responsibilities of both mother and legislator and was the first woman to ever give birth while she was an active member of the Missouri Legislature.

Claire broke new ground again in 1993 when she became the first female Jackson County Prosecutor, which included Kansas City. This was the largest prosecutor’s office in the state and she began many new programs, including a domestic violence unit and one of the nation’s first Drug Courts. She held this position until she was sworn in as Missouri Auditor in 1999.

As State Auditor, Claire has been credited for revolutionizing the office and making it into a true watchdog for taxpayers and citizens. In 2004, Claire took on her own party establishment and became the first person to ever defeat a sitting Missouri governor in a primary election.

In November of 2006, Claire became the first woman elected to the United States Senate from Missouri, vowing to bring Harry Truman’s no-nonsense style of accountability back to Washington. It only seemed fitting that her place in the Senate chamber is a desk shared by none other than Senator Truman himself.

Claire sits on five Senate Committees, including Armed Services, Commerce, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Aging, and Indian Affairs. Additionally, Claire was named as one of the select Senators to sit on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, formerly known as the Truman Committee.

After a busy week in Washington, Claire returns home to St. Louis to a full house. After seven years as a single mom, Claire married Joseph Shepard, a St. Louis businessman, in April 2002. They each brought children to the marriage, which created a blended family of nine: Benjamin, 32, Carl, 30, Marilyn, 28, Michael, 25, Austin, 20, Maddie, 19 and Lily, 16. Claire’s 79-year old mother Betty Anne lives with the family and continues to join her on trips around Missouri.

Claire is a member of St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church in St. Louis.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

From the Congressman’s official website

Rep. Van Hollen was elected to Congress in 2002 in a high profile election that received national attention and has quickly earned a reputation as an active, engaged and effective member of Congress.  The Washington Post described Rep. Van Hollen as “an astute lawmaker” who has “distinguished himself as a shrewd legislative player in Congress.” The Baltimore Sun andRoll Call newspapers called him a “rising star” in Congress and the Democratic Party.  Rep. Van Hollen is Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means as well as the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

He is the Vice Chairman of the bipartisan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, Co-Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force and Vice Chairman of the Democratic Task Force on Budget and Tax Policy.

Rep. Van Hollen has been recognized for his leadership in the areas of education, foreign policy, the environment, healthcare, energy policy, protecting the rights of federal employees and civil rights.  He has received numerous leadership awards including the “Outstanding New Member of the Year” award from the non-partisan Committee for Education Funding (CEF); the “Community Health Superhero Award” from the National Association of Community Health Centers for his efforts on behalf of the uninsured and medically underserved Americans; the “Outstanding Leadership Award” from the American Lung Association for efforts to strengthen the Clean Air Act and discourage youth smoking; and the “Outstanding Service Award” from the Blinded Americans Veterans Foundation for his legislative efforts on behalf of veterans.

Before his election to the U.S. Congress, Rep. Van Hollen served 12 years in the Maryland General Assembly.  Prior to his election to the Maryland legislature, Rep. Van Hollen served as a Senior Legislative Advisor for Federal Affairs to Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer. Before that, he was a Professional Staff Member on the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee specializing in national security and a range of foreign policy issues. Earlier, Rep. Van Hollen served as the Legislative Assistant for Defense and Foreign Policy to former Maryland Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr.

Rep. Van Hollen received an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College, a Masters in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Rep. Van Hollen lives in Kensington, Maryland with his wife, Katherine, and their three children, Anna, Nicholas and Alexander.

Other speakers

Betsy Combier

Betsy Combier is an award-winning writer, video producer, journalist and advocate. She is Editor of Parentadvocates.org, an online news magazine for people interested in exposing corruption and fraud in education, business, and government. She is also President/Director of Theater Kids, Inc., and President of ArtsNexus, Inc., a 501(C) 3 not-for-profit company which funds performing artists and arts associations. Betsy is currently working with the United Federation of Teachers in New York City to advocate for those members re-assigned to NYC “rubber rooms”. In 2005 Betsy blew the whistle and exposed a scheme to use church property to finance mortgages held by wealthy real-estate owners in New York City. Betsy is married and has four daughters, Sari, Healani, Elise, and Marielle.

Bob Brown

Bob Brown is co-director of Pan-African Roots, an Organizer for the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (Guinea, Conakry) and Le Parti de la Revolution Populaire Africain de Guinee (PRPAG), our Party in Guinea, and an internationally recognized Revolutionary Pan-Africanist, researcher, scholar, organizer, educator, and author. He has dedicated almost two-thirds of his life to the African and International struggles for Human Dignity, Civil Rights, Black Power, National Independence, Pan-Africanism, the Emancipation of Women and Youth, Socialism and Peace.

Dr. Ned Feder

Before joining POGO in September 2006, Dr. Feder was a scientist at the National Institutes of Health. He came to the NIH in 1967 as the head of the Section on Biophysical Histology, conducting basic research in cell biology. In the mid-1980s he and an NIH colleague began to study professional misconduct among biomedical researchers and found that violations of ethical standards were common. Published reports on their controversial observations drew attention in academia, in the press, and on Capitol Hill, particularly in hearings by a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In 1993, senior NIH officials directed Dr. Feder and his colleague to stop their ongoing studies of misconduct in medical research, and they were reassigned to administrative jobs unconnected with the examination of scientific misconduct. Over the years Dr. Feder has published articles in the scientific and lay press on a wide range of topics including histochemistry, cell biology, mycology, scientific misconduct, and conflicts of interest. He received an M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School in 1953 and was a faculty member of the Harvard Biology Department from 1961 to 1967.

  1. Patricia Callahan, Esq

Pat is the founder and president of the American Association of Small
Property Owners, the only national grassroots organization for the ten million small
owners of residential and commercial investment properties. Since 1993, AASPO
has been working for the right of small property owners to prosper freely and
fairly – to make possible the American dream of building wealth through real
estate. Based in Washington, DC, AASPO has chapter or affiliates in more than
25 states.
She is an attorney admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pat began her career with the Boston-based Fidelity Funds where she performed
a comprehensive analysis of the Funds’ private placements. She has served in
Washington as a trial attorney with the SEC and has been a committee counsel
in the Senate. She represented Sears on legislative and regulatory matters
involving tax policy, labor relations and employee benefits, international trade
and federal securities regulation. Pat handled similar issues as director of
employee benefits for the National Association of Manufacturers. She was
appointed by President George Bush (#41) to head two divisions in the Department
of Commerce.
As a real estate investor, Pat has purchased and restored historic commercial
properties in Virginia, directing all phases of investment selection,
financing, construction, marketing, leasing and management. She also oversaw
management of the multi-million dollar family real estate holdings in Boston’s Back
Bay for her elderly widowed father.

She advises state and local governments and businesses on effective economic
development strategies, and served on the transition team of District of
Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams assisting the mayor in evaluating functions of
District government relating to taxes, banking and insurance, and housing.

Pat was the project manager for AASPO’s first public policy report, “Case
Studies of Rent Control in Boston,” which helped end 25 years of rent control in
Massachusetts through a citizen referendum in 1994. She served as publisher
of AASPO’s print newsletter, The Small Property Owner, which was voted the best
independent real estate newsletter by the National Association of Real Estate
Editors.

Gabe Bruno

Gabe Bruno is a retired FAA manager and is now an independent safety consultant. His 28-year FAA career included serving nine years at FAA Headquarters in Washington DC and managing two Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) in the FAA’s Eastern and Southern Regions.
He received numerous awards during his career, including Manager of the Year and Office of the Year. He may be contacted at GBruno3@cfl.rr.com.

Joe Carson

Joe Carson, PE, is a licensed professional engineer (PE), employed by Department of Energy as a nuclear safety engineer.  As a PE he has a positive legal and professional duty to “blow whistles,” when necessary, to protect public health and safety, regardless of employer or possible retribution.  For the past 16 years, at cost of much suffering, sacrifice, risk, loss and exertion, he has defended and upheld his profession of engineering, its code of ethics, and the public health and safety by “blowing whistles” about significant safety issue in DOE and confronting its resulting lawbreaking, via rule of law.   He has prevailed in no fewer than 8 separate whistleblower-related decisions at MSPB in that time.   About 6 years ago,  Mr. Carson realized that DOE’s lawbreaking against him was enabled by OSC’s lawbreaking failure to protect him from it.   Unlike DOE, OSC did not single him out, it has been a fraud as a federal law enforcement agency for 30 years.  He co-created OSC Watch to expose OSC’s fraud, something apparently now close to being accomplished.

At end of it, Mr. Carson’s actions are informed by his Christian worldview, by which “suffering for righteousness’ sake” is not necessarily to be shunned.

Johathan Cantu

Jonathan Cantú, Food and Drug Safety Associate at the Government Accountability project, received a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.S. in History and Latin American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining GAP, he served as a law clerk with the Stanford Community Law Clinic, the Disability Rights Division and the Worker’s Rights Clinic of the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center (San Francisco, CA), and with the Housing Rights Division of the Mental Health Advocacy Project (San José, CA).

Mark Cohen

Before becoming GAP Executive Director, Mark served as GAP Food and Drug Safety Director for over two years. Prior to that, he has served as a senior legal consultant to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, a chief counsel and program director for the National Association of Attorneys General, a legal journalist/editor, and a public radio news director. He is also an award-winning TV and documentary film producer. Mark earned his JD degree from the Antioch School of Law and an LL.M in international and comparative law from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Tom Devine

Tom Devine, Legal Director of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) is actively involved in a range of issues including national security, occupational free speech, forestry, and safe meat and poultry; he also serves as counsel on whistleblower reform legislation. He is a Phi Beta Kappa honors graduate of Georgetown University. Mr. Devine joined GAP as a legal apprentice while pursuing his JD at Antioch School of Law and upon graduation assumed leadership of GAP’s legal work. During his twenty nine years at GAP, Mr. Devine has led nearly all the successful campaigns to enact or maintain whistleblower protections for federal employees and private sector workers in a variety of industries.  In March 1998, Mr. Devine was honored with the Fund for Constitutional Government’s Defender of the Constitution Award for his work with whistleblowers.

Francesca Grifo

Senior Scientist and Director, Scientific Integrity Program
As the senior scientist and director of the Scientific Integrity Program at UCS, Francesca Grifo acts to mobilize scientists and citizens to defend the integrity of government science from political interference.
Dr. Grifo came to UCS in 2005 from Columbia University where she directed the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation graduate policy workshop and ran the Science Teachers Environmental Education Program. Prior to that, she was director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and a curator of the Hall of Biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Dr. Grifo edited and contributed to the books Biodiversity and Human Health and The Living Planet in Crisis: Biodiversity Science and Policy. In addition to her scholarly work, Dr. Grifo was the manager of the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups Program at the National Institutes of Health. She was also a senior program officer for Central and Eastern Europe for the Biodiversity Support Program, a consortium of the World Resources Institute, the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund.  She also served as an AAAS Fellow in the Office of Research at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Dr. Grifo earned a doctorate in botany from Cornell and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Smith College.
Dr. Grifo has testified before Congress on the subject of scientific integrity in federal policy making and is widely quoted on the topic in media outlets such as The New York Times, Washington Post, and National Public Radio’s Science Friday.

 

Amanda Hitt

Amanda Hitt, Public Health and Safety Associate at the Government Accountability Project, graduated cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law with a concentration in Government and Public Service. After law school, Ms. Hitt received her MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health. Prior to joining GAP, Ms. Hitt worked in both health research and policy. In addition to her work in public health, Ms. Hitt has a legal background in employment and civil rights law.

Barry J.C. Kissin

  1. A. Economics, University of Pennsylvania
    J.D., University of Maryland Law School

Attorney practicing in Frederick, MD, home of Fort Detrick. Organizer of opposition to massive expansion of bio-warfare facilities at Fort Detrick

Recent publications regarding “bio-defense” build-up and Amerithrax:

“Inside Ft. Detrick, Q&A With Barry Kissin, Peace Activist”
Amerithrax Hoax
FBI Sweeps Anthrax Under the Rug

Michael McCray- ESQ., CPA

Michael McCray is known as a tenacious advocate and champion for the underdog; one who fights for the rights of others . . . with a never say die mentality. Michael champions individual and community causes; and business and real estate development projects with a sense of righteousness and justice. Michael spent his formative years in Pine Bluff, Arkansas when the city had the dubious reputation of being ranked the worse city in America – two years in a row. From this environment, Michael developed a strong sense of social responsibility and a burning desire to improve the living and working conditions of people living in communities like his hometown.

A native Arkansan, Michael traveled to Washington, D.C. with the Clinton Administration and began his community development career working on the Presidential Empowerment Initiative. Also known as the Federal Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC) Initiative where he served with distinction as community development specialist and a National Speaker on community economic development issues and technology for USDA, McCray toured the country conducting technology training and speaking engagements at three White House Empowerment Zone Conferences and four Regional Enterprise Community Meetings across the country. Other featured speakers at these events included Vice President Al Gore, Secretary Andrew Cuomo, Secretary Rodney Slater and Carol Rasco, Special Assistant to the President.

As a civil rights lawyer and federal whistleblower, Michael became known as the “$40,000,000 Whistleblower” when he reported over $40 million in government waste, fraud and abuse at the United States Department of Agriculture. Latter Michael became a Judicial Reform Activist when he reported significant judicial misconduct against U.S. v. Microsoft Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Michael’s judicial complaint contributed to Judge Jackson’s early retirement. McCray is the chairperson of the 3-5-7 Commission, a judicial reform association dedicated to exposing judicial misconduct through quantifiably and statistically verifiable methods, to ensure that American citizens receive fair hearings and tribunals as provided for in the U.S. Constitution and declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Michael continued his community development career by consulting on single-asset and master-plan projects for T.D. Jakes Ministries, a west Las Vegas shopping center, the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education National Historic Site, Grider Field/Pine Bluff Municipal Airport and is a partner in a development company engaged in redeveloping the Historic Winecoff Hotel, due to which he is actively combating the national predatory lending and mortgage fraud epidemic. As a National Board Delegate to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and as a principal for the Congress Against Racism and Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE), Michael champions predatory lending, mortgage fraud and sub-prime mortgage lending reforms. Featured Speaker at Fraud Awareness Committee (FAC) Mortgage Fraud Rally which was covered by Atlanta Affiliates Fox 5, CBS 46, Channel 11. Other Speakers included Dexter Wimbish, General Counsel for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Joe Beasly, Regional Director for Rainbow/Push Coalition and Radio-One Personality, Myron “Magic Man” Gigger.

Finally, with over 12 years of civil rights and community economic development experience, and based in part on his experiences with the A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Michael has developed significant expertise in labor organizing and employment law, worker’s rights, wrongful termination, employment discrimination, and various general business, real estate and civil rights disputes. A “Fearless” whistleblower and judicial reform advocate, McCray is a member of the No FEAR collation, which is responsible for passing the Notification of Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002, and is actively engaged in seeking strong judicial reform provisions to be included in No FEAR II. Additionally, as a member of Amnesty International, Michael is engaged in the international struggle for human rights and he fights for full implementation of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” which was first adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

 

EDUCATION

 

  • J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center                                  May, 1994
  • M.A. in Communications from American University              December, 1999
  • MBA in Finance from Howard University                                         December, 1999
  • B.S. in Economics from Florida A&M University                              December, 1990

Adam Miles

Adam Miles, former legislative representative at the Government Accountability Project, helped lead the push to enact stronger whistleblower rights for employees at defense contractors, in the ground transportation industry, and for an estimated 20 million employees of retailers and manufacturers of consumer products. He also serves as an investigator for GAP on national security whistleblower cases. Prior to joining GAP, he worked with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Miles is a 2002 graduate of Boston University, and is attending the Georgetown University Law Center.

Peter D. Nesbitt

AGE: 44
EMPLOYER: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
OCCUPATION: Air Traffic Controller
CURRENT DUTY STATION: Austin Tower
PREVIOUS DUTY STATIONS: Louisville, KY, Oakland, CA, Dallas – Ft. Worth, TX, Memphis, TN.
PRIOR EXPERIENCE: United States Air Force, Air Traffic Controller, Travis AFB, CA.
WHISTLEBLOWER ACTIVITIES: I disclosed an unsafe procedure at the Memphis International Airport that endangered the flying public. Memphis FAA Management maintained that they had a waiver to utilize this illegal and unsafe procedure, but an investigation by FAA Oversight found that the waiver did not exist.  Additional safety disclosures to the OSC are currently under investigation by the DOT/OIG.  My previous Prohibited Personnel Practice case was “settled” with the FAA, resulting in my transfer from Memphis to Austin with no loss of pay.  I have worked with Gabe Bruno and others to form the FAA Whistleblower Alliance to support FAA Whistleblowers.

Richard J. Ochs

A retired printer and free lance writer from Baltimore, Richard Ochs has published articles in the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Chronicle, Science magazine and the website: www.freefromterror.net.  He is past president of the Aberdeen Proving Ground Superfund Citizens Coalition, member of the Depleted Uranium Task force of the Military Toxics Project and a member of the Chemical Weapons Working Group. Since the anthrax attacks of 2001, he has spent most of his time advocating effective investigation,  public disclosure and sanity in the biodefense industry.

Jesselyn Radack

Ms. Radack is Homeland Security Director at the Government Accountability Project. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and received her J.D. from Yale Law School. Ms. Radack joined the Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honor Program, where she practiced constitutional tort litigation and later worked in the Professional Responsibility Advisory Office. More recently, she served on the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee and represented whistleblowers alleging reconstruction fraud in Iraq. She has published extensively in academic journals, the mainstream media and the blogosphere on legal ethics, national security, and civil rights and liberties in the war on terrorism.

Marcel Reid

Community Activist, Organizer and Leader (Mortgage Fraud Workshop)

Marcel Reid began her involvement in grassroots and community organizations at a very young age. At age 16 she was elected President of the Youth Advisory Committee for Compton, California. She studied under Ron Karenga (founder of Kwanzaa) at California State University, Long Beach State where she acquired her B. S. degree in Sociology.

Marcel later became a Legal Advocate for Southeast Legal Aid where she was the liaison for 17 cities in South East Los Angeles Counties, and established two satellite offices in Norwalk and Bell Gardens, California. After marrying [Military] Marcel moved to the east coast and became a Federal Monitor for CETA (Comprehensive Employment Training Authority) where she was responsible for 56 job sites and 450 participants in Cape May County, NJ. Marcel also worked as Substitute Teacher and employment officer in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

After attending the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Marcel transferred to Washington D.C. where she worked in marketing for Holiday Inn Corporation, Premier Proprieties in which, she Directed the tele-marketing, tele-sales and direct marketing for Holiday Inn Crown Plaza Hotel. She continued inMarketing and with CTN (Cartridge Technology Network) as the Director of National Corporate Relations. She continues in marketing working for a large multinational.

A Member in good standing and former Secretary for both the Compton and Council of Negro Women; Marcel is currently Chair of DC ACORN which serves both Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. True to her convictions for democracy and representation in grassroots advocacy, Marcel is also a leader in the ACORN 8 the people’s movement to reform ACORN.

Richard Renner

Richard Renner is a leading advocate for whistleblowers, with a long record of service for labor organizers and civil rights.  He is a member of the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and a former Co-Chair of NELA’s Whistleblower Committee.

Prior to joining the National Whistleblowers Center in 2008, Mr. Renner worked for 27 years as a lawyer in Ohio where he was a founding partner in the firm of Tate and Renner. Mr. Renner was co-counsel in Charvat v. EORWA, 96-ERA-37, before the Department of Labor, the Sixth Circuit in Charvat v. EORWA, 246 F.3d 607 (6th Cir. 2001), and before the Ohio Supreme Court in State ex rel. Russell v. Thomas (1999), 85 Ohio St.3d 83, 1999-435. Mr. Renner also prevailed as sole counsel in Trueblood v. Von Roll American, Inc., 2002-WPC-1,3-6; 2003-WPC-1.

Mr. Renner founded Hispanic Ministries of Tuscarawas County, Inc. (1997) and served as its president. He assisted in bringing a 20-year UFCW organizing drive to a successful NLRB election in 2007.  He was an adjunct faculty member at Kent State University, Tuscarawas Branch, where taught Mathematics and Environmental Law, 1998-2000. Mr. Renner also received the Pillars Club Community Service Award in 1995, the Big Brother of the Year Award from Big Brothers/Big Sisters of East Central Ohio in 2004, and the Tuscarawas County NAACP Freedom Fund Award for the Furtherance of Social Justice in 2008.
Mr. Renner is the author of several articles including: “Federal Environmental Whistleblower Complaints,” in, Employee Rights Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Summer 2002), pp. 29-34; “Whistleblower Book Helps with All Retaliation Cases,” a review of Concepts and Procedures in Whistleblower Law, NELA Employee Advocate, Spring 2001, p. 24; “Federal Whistleblower Complaints,” feature article for Ohio Employment Lawyers Ass’n Newsletter, October, 1996.

Mr. Renner served on the program committee for Representing Employees in Whistleblower and Retaliation Cases in Chicago, 2007, and co-presented a plenary session on Department of Labor procedures.  Mr. Renner presented “Sarbanes-Oxley and other federal whistleblower protections ” to the Ohio Employment Lawyers Association in 2004 and “Informed Consent and the Obligation of Attorneys to Clients” in Akron, Ohio in 1995. He also moderated a seminar on ethics, professionalism and substance abuse for Tuscarawas County Law Library in 2001.

Don Soeken

Forty years professional experience in the multidisciplinary areas of practice, research, and teaching. Varied assignments have provided a balanced career of administrative leadership, teaching, and research. Retired Captain of the United States Public Health Service. Licensed Social Worker in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and West Virginia. Affiliated with Commissioned Officers Association and a Diplomate of the National Association of Social Workers. Human Development doctorate. Counseling expertise with persons who have employment difficulties. Expert witness in whistleblower and employment cases. Evaluations of cases involving wrongful discharge, disability, worker’s compensation, and civil rights. Fifteen years experience in managing a non-profit organization including program development, advocacy skills, developing a budget, writing funding requests, securing funding from foundations and individuals, and writing annual reports. Developed and researched model of short-term mental health treatment. Private practice of therapy with youth and adults.

Paul O. Taylor

Legal Counsel of  Truckers Justice Center Justice, www.truckersjustice.com

Mr. Taylor focuses on whistleblower claims for transportation workers and truck-safety litigation. He has brought more than 200 whistleblower claims for his clients before OSHA and the Department of Labor’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.  Mr. Taylor is a frequent lecturer to truck-safety organizations and co-author of “The STAA Handbook”.  Mr. Taylor serves as Co-Chair of the National Employment Lawyers Association’s Whistleblower Committee and was formerly a section chair for the Transportation Lawyers Associaiton.  Mr. Taylor had litigated transportation and whistleblower cases before various Circuit Courts of Appeal and before the United States Supreme Court.

Nilgun Tolek

Director of the Office of Whistleblower Protection Program, United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  Nilgun Tolek is director of the Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program, Directorate of Enforcement Programs, in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), US Department of Labor.  She has been with the program since December 2003.  She and her staff develop program policy and procedure and assist OSHA’s field offices in administering seventeen whistleblower statutes—protecting employees who voice concerns about workplace safety and health; aviation, trucking, pipeline, rail, transit, nuclear, and consumer product safety; environmental protections, asbestos in schools; intermodal cargo containers; and corporate fraud.

Jason Zuckerman

Jason Zuckerman, a Principal at The Employment Law Group, P.C., has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” and has substantial experience litigating whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, and wrongful discharge cases. He has lectured extensively on whistleblower law and employment law, especially on Sarbanes-Oxley and False Claims Act actions, and has written several articles on whistleblower protections. Mr. Zuckerman serves as Co-Chair of the National Employment Lawyers Association’s Whistleblower Committee and Co-Chair of the Whistleblower Committee of the District of Columbia Bar’s Labor and Employment Section. In addition, Mr. Zuckerman is active in the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law’s Subcommittee on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association. Mr. Zuckerman graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University and received his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he served as Articles Editor of the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology.

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