The 2011 Washington Whistleblower Assembly – a Conference for Accountability, was held September 19-20, 2011 in Washington.
About the 2011 Washington Whistleblower Assembly
Join the Government Accountability Project and co-sponsors, citizen advocates, and other members of the public interest community from around the nation for the 2011 Washington Whistleblower Assembly – a Conference for Accountability this September in Washington, DC. The Washington Whistleblower Assembly provides a yearly opportunity for the public interest community to exchange ideas and information, learn about the latest developments in specific areas of interest, and network with old and new friends!
This year, the Washington Whistleblower Assembly will present the opportunity for the entire community to join together in an advocacy effort designed to protect and increase the rights of whistleblowers. The Assembly will feature in-depth advocacy training, providing participants with all the tools needed for a successful day of lobbying on Capitol Hill! The primary focus for this year’s effort will be final passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, introduced in the 112th Congress by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), which is currently being considered in the House of Representatives. Following advocacy training, participants will spend a day attending meetings with their members of Congress. These meetings provide an opportunity to develop relationships with congressional staff that lasts long after your visit to DC!
The Washington Whistleblower Assembly is also a wonderful educational forum for learning about recent changes affecting federal and corporate whistleblowers and related legislation. A day of plenary sessions, workshops, and continuing legal education sessions (CLE’s) provide participants with information-sharing and networking opportunities. We also encourage attendee participation in our poster session and open-mic night!
Read the full text of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011
Invitation and Registration
Registration for the 2011 Washington Whistleblower Assembly is free and open to the public! The Washington Whistleblower Assembly provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about occupational free speech causes and campaigns, and serves as a great introduction or refresher to the public interest community.
Click here to view our Save the Date card
Online registration has closed, on-site registration will be available from 9:00AM to noon at Mott House (122 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002)
Further questions can be directed to conference coordinator Ginger Park at the Government Accountability Project.
September 18 – 20, 2011
Sunday, September 18
Participant arrival begins
Pre-Assembly Events: If possible, please join co-sponsor the International Association of Whistleblowers for a participant caucus on Sunday afternoon.
1:00PM – 5:00PM International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW) Participant Caucus, DC Public Library – Martin Luther King Jr. branch, Room A-5, 901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001, (202) 727-0321. More information
6:30PM Informal participant dinner, The Dubliner at the Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol Street NW, Washington DC 20001
Day 1 – Monday, September 19 (Capitol Hill)
Morning plenary sessions: Mott House, 122 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002
9:00AM Doors open and registration begins
9:20AM – 9:30AM Greetings
9:30AM – 10:00AM Keynote speaker – Thomas Drake, National Security Agency whistleblower. Introduction provided by Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director, Electronic Information Privacy Center
10:00AM – 11:00AM Plenary panel
- Being RIGHT on Whistle-blowing: A Conservative Analysis
11:00AM – 11:30AM Coalition solidarity announcement; Congressional plenary session with Lisa Powell, Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
11:40AM – 12:40PM Plenary panel
- National Security Whistleblowers: Exposing Severe Wrongdoing in a Culture of Secrecy
1:00PM – 2:00PM Plenary Luncheon Session
“Reflections from the Obama Administration Whistleblower Appointees” featuring the Hon. Paul Igasaki, Chair and Chief Judge of the Administrative Review Board at the U.S. Department of Labor; the Hon. Carolyn Lerner, Special Counsel, Office of Special Counsel; and the Hon. Susan Tsui Grundmann, Chair of the Merit Systems Protection Board. Moderated by Beatrice Edwards, Executive Director of the Government Accountability Project.
Plenary Luncheon Speaker -“Lessons Learned to Prevent Another 9/11” featuring Bogdan Dzakovic, former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Red Team Leader
2:15PM – 3:15PM Concurrent sessions (Mott House and Cannon House Office Building)
- the Importance of Food Whistleblowers (Mott House conference room)
- Is the Government Making the Most Out of Whistleblower Statutes? (121 Cannon House Office Building)
- Working with the Office of Special Counsel (122 Cannon House Office Building)
3:30PM – 4:30PM Concurrent sessions
- The FAA and the Whistleblower Threat (Mott House conference room)
- Whistleblower Advocacy in a Changing Media Landscape (121 Cannon House Office Building)
- Changes in Corporate Whistleblower Rights since 2006 (122 Cannon House Office Building)
4:45PM – 5:45PM Advocacy training for pre-registered Hill Day participants (121 Cannon House Office Building)
7:00PM – 10:00PM “Expression Session” community-building event hosted by the International Association of Whistleblowers, Busboys and Poets, 2nd floor loft from 7-9PM and the Cullen Room 9PM-10PM, 1025 5th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, (202) 789-2227
Day 2 – Tuesday, September 20 (Capitol Hill Advocacy Day)
9:45AM Hill Day teams meet on Capitol Hill (location TBA)
10:15AM – 12:30PM Scheduled House of Representatives meetings
12:30PM – 1:30PM Lunch, Dirksen cafeteria, basement level, Dirksen building
1:30PM – 2:00PM Group photo on the Senate side on the Capitol steps
2:00PM – 4:00PM Scheduled Senate meetings
4:30PM – 5:00PM Debriefing, Mott House
5:00PM – 7:00PM Closing reception, Mott House
* Check back for updated information
Plenary and Concurrent Session Speakers:
Steven Aftergood is a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. He directs the FAS Project on Government Secrecy, which works to reduce the scope of government secrecy and to promote reform of official secrecy practices.
He writes Secrecy News, an email newsletter (and blog) which reports on new developments in secrecy policy and provides direct public access to official records of policy value that have been suppressed, withdrawn or that are simply hard to find.
In 1997, Mr. Aftergood was the plaintiff in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency which led to the declassification and publication of the total intelligence budget ($26.6 billion in 1997) for the first time in fifty years. In 2006, he won a FOIA lawsuit against the National Reconnaissance Office for release of unclassified budget records.
Mr. Aftergood is an electrical engineer by training (B.Sc., UCLA, 1977) and has published research in solid state physics. He joined the FAS staff in 1989.
He has authored or co-authored papers and essays in Scientific American, Science, New Scientist, Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, and Issues in Science and Technology, on topics including space nuclear power, atmospheric effects of launch vehicles, and government information policy.
For his work on confronting government secrecy, Mr. Aftergood has received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award (2010), the James Madison Award from the American Library Association (2006), the Public Access to Government Information Award from the American Association of Law Libraries (2006), the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award from the Playboy Foundation (2004), and the Golden Candle Award from Open Source Solutions (1997).
The Federation of American Scientists, founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists, is a non-profit national organization of scientists and engineers concerned with issues of science and national security policy.
Dylan Blaylock serves as Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project (GAP), where he manages communications with journalists for stories about GAP clients, oversees the organization’s website and social media presence, generates materials for GAP print and online publications, and produces GAP television program Whistle Where You Work and similar multimedia presentations, among other duties.
Dylan started at GAP in early 2005 in his current role. Major media campaigns that he has worked on include the Paul Wolfwitz scandal at the World Bank, safety issues at the Hanford Nuclear Plant , Rick Piltz’ exposure of White House scientific tampering regarding climate change, and most whistleblowers on the GAP Client Stories page. He has traveled internationally in his work capacity, speaking on how to establish effective partnerships between journalists, nonprofits and whistleblowers, as well as how small nonprofits and organizations can build and establish sustainable social and ‘new’ media programs. Op-eds by Dylan have appeared in several outlets around the country, including The New York Times.
Prior to joining GAP, Dylan graduated with a Masters in Mass Communication specializing in public relations from the University of Florida. He also worked as a journalist for KUOW, Seattle’s NPR affiliate, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Washington.
Gabe Bruno is a retired Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) manager and current Executive Director of the FAA Whistleblowers Alliance. Mr. Bruno made aviation safety disclosures about FAA cover-up of fraudulent mechanic certificates and lack of FAA oversight.
Traci L. Buschner
Traci Buschner is a senior counsel at Grant & Eisenhofer. A former state prosecutor, Ms. Buschner has spent the last 13 years representing plaintiffs in complex litigation ranging from class actions to government contract fraud under federal and state false claims acts. She has been involved in multi-million dollar recoveries on behalf of workers under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and has served as counsel in False Claims actions, bringing tens of millions of dollars to the United States Government. Ms. Buschner represented one of the six main whistleblowers in False Claims Act litigation against Pfizer, Inc., which resulted in the Government’s recovery of $2.3 billion in 2009.
Ms. Buschner’s practice has involved representation of some of the nation’s largest labor unions and their members. Prior to joining Grant & Eisenhofer, she was an attorney with the Washington, DC office of one of the nation’s largest personal injury and labor firms and also practiced with an Austin, Texas firm where she spear-headed litigation on behalf of victims of asbestos exposure.
On behalf of the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW), AFL-CIO, Ms. Buschner was actively involved in environmental litigation which led to Secretary of Energy, William Richardson, canceling a project to recycle radioactive nickel at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee K-25 Nuclear Weapons Complex. The documentation of her efforts to expose faulty government contracting at Department of Energy Nuclear weapons sites was published in The Environmental Forum, Volume 17, No. 6, November/December 2000.
Ms. Buschner graduated from Miami University in 1990, and received her J.D. from the University of Louisville in 1995.
David K. Colapinto
David K. Colapinto is a nationally recognized whistleblower advocate, with an expertise in government fraud and qui tam cases, and in the use of the Privacy Act in defending whistleblowers.
The co-author of Whistleblower Law: A Guide to Legal Protections for Corporate Employees, Mr. Colapinto is a highly experienced and highly successful litigator who has represented numerous whistleblowers in state and federal courts and before a variety of administrative agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Mr. Colapinto also played an integral role in obtaining whistleblower protection for FBI employees. As co-counsel to Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, Mr. Colapinto is responsible for the lawsuit that forced President Clinton to issue a historic directive ordering the Attorney General to implement regulations protecting FBI employee whistleblowers. He is an Attorney-Trustee for the National Whistleblowers Center and General Counsel of the Center’s Forensic Justice Project. Mr. Colapinto received a J.D. degree from Antioch School of Law and a B.A. degree in History from Boston University. Mr. Colapinto is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and also serves as an Attorney-Trustee for the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Tony Corbo is the senior lobbyist for the food campaign at Food & Water Watch. He is responsible for food-related legislative and regulatory issues that come before Congress and the Executive Branch. Tony has extensive organizing experience having directed major public employee representation campaigns in several states. He has also directed political campaigns at various levels, and he served as the administrative assistant to a Member of Congress. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Affairs from The George Washington University and a Master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. He can be reached tcorbo(at)fwwatch.org.
Tom Devine has worked at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) since January 1979. Mr. Devine has assisted over 5,000 whistleblowers in defending themselves against retaliation and in making a difference, such as shuttering accident-prone nuclear power plants, checkmating repeated industry ploys to deregulate government meat inspection, and blocking the next generation of the bloated and porous “Star Wars” missile defense systems. He has been a leader in the campaigns to pass or defend 20 major national or international whistleblower laws, including every one enacted over the last two decades. These include the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 for federal employees; seven breakthrough laws since 2002 creating the right to jury trials for corporate whistleblowers; and new U.N., World Bank and African Development Bank policies legalizing public freedom of expression for their own whistleblowers. Mr. Devine has served as “Ambassador of Whistleblowing” in over a dozen nations on trips sponsored by the U.S. State Department. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, including Courage Without Martyrdom and The Whistleblower’s Survival Guide, law review articles, and newspaper op-eds, and is a frequent expert commentator on television and radio talk shows. Mr. Devine is the recipient of the “Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award” and the “Defender of the Constitution Award” bestowed by the Fund for Constitutional Government. In 2006 he was inducted into the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. He is a Phi Beta Kappa honors graduate of Georgetown University and earned his J.D. from the Antioch School of Law.
Thomas Drake is the founder and senior leader of Knowpari Systems, a boutique leadership development and executive consulting firm formed in 2008 and focused on business intelligence, IT-corporate governance, performance coaching, risk management, operations analysis, systems thinking, strategic advising and deep learning through people, process and technology – expanding capacity, increasing performance and enhancing social and relational well-being for individuals, teams, and organizations.
His recently concluded legal ordeal with the federal government – while on the receiving end as both subject and object of an ultimately unsuccessful multi-million dollar, multi-year Department of Justice criminal investigation, prosecution and indictment under the Espionage Act over the past several years as a whistleblower – lies at the nexus of national security, secrecy, overclassification, the military-industrial-congressional-intelligence-surveillance complex, decision making, freedom of thought, expression and innovation, civil liberties, and the Constitution. His case was highlighted in the 23 May 2011 issue of The New Yorker magazine with an article written by Jane Mayer and an updated 60 Minutes special with Scott Pelley on 21 August 2011.
From 2001 through 2008 he was a senior executive at the National Security Agency (NSA) and served in various technical management and leadership capacities. While there he became a material witness and whistleblower for two 9/11 congressional investigations and a multi-year Department of Defense Inspector General audit of a failed multi-billion dollar flagship program called TRAILBLAZER as well as an operationally ready, highly innovative, revolutionary and breakthrough multi-million dollar intelligence data collection, processing and analysis system called THINTHREAD – that was specifically designed to handle the massive data volume and variety of the digital web with built-in 4th Amendment and privacy protection safeguards, but rejected by NSA.
His outreach and speaking expertise center on delivering dynamic, interactive and compelling content in the areas of strategic leadership, international relations, contemporary international problems, professional ethics, executive management, business intelligence and decision support systems, resource strategy, complex systems (social and technical), human relations, dynamics of the information and knowledge age, information management, organizational sustainability, executive leadership, 21st Century issues, governance and decision-making, the Constitution and civil liberties as well as whistleblowing.
His particular area of expertise is the strategic and global perspective while placing events, people, trends, and movements in the larger context and finding the meaning and the connections and making sense of them such that one can take the practical action necessary to execute the mission and the business in challenging times, under adverse conditions and with constant uncertainty.
He has also focused on a key ‘emergent’ strategically competitive best practice of relationship leadership involving dynamically evolving social ecology and social network systems. This highly innovative approach involves real-time learning and feedback creating the very conditions for both individual and organizational well-being and accomplishment while also achieving sustainable results in the marketplace.
To that end, and while working as an Expert in a Washington, DC area Apple Store providing technical support and compelling experiences in one-on-one customer environments with retail or business needs, he is pursuing a PhD in public management and leadership with a dissertation focused on the paradox of power and politics in the 21st Century and the role of transpersonal leadership creating and sustaining psychologically healthy workplaces through social networks of performance, cooperation, collaboration and information sharing rather than through traditional top down networks of power, control,secrecy and information hoarding.
In the past, he has led seminars, tutorials and workshops covering software engineering, software metrics, testing, project management, organizational dynamics and change management, as well as ‘high tech/high touch’ information technology methods and approaches.He has written for IEEE Computer magazine (software and program analysis) and has been published in CRC Press, Addison-Wesley, Software Tech News and numerous national and international conference proceedings.
In addition, Mr. Drake has conducted multiple presentations, interactive seminars, briefings, and tutorials on Software Quality Assurance, Testing, Best Current Practices in Software Development, Project Management: Achieving Success and Avoiding Failure, Risk Management, Team Management, People Management, Making a Difference: Transforming Information Technology – The People Side of the Equation, Inventing from the Future: The 21st Century Organization, The Customer is Your Quality, and many others.He was also a Certified Software Test Engineer for a number of years.
He was a visiting professor of strategic leadership and information strategy at the National Defense University with the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Previously, he was a principal in a couple of dot coms, served in the military (both Air Force and the Navy), and has 12 years of industry experience in change leadership, senior management, organizational leadership and development, quality assurance, software and systems engineering (having analyzed over 150 million lines of code), learning strategies, acquisition and program management, operations and technology life-cycle integration as a contractor and consultant with both government and commercial clients including Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 companies. He was at Booz | Allen | Hamilton as a management, strategy and technology consultant and software quality engineer from 1991-1998.
He enjoys gardening, reading, writing, “talk abouts” and “talk it outs”, operating his classic computer (including an 8-bit Atari home computer), playing chess (was rated competitively by the U.S. Chess Federation), experiential-based life learning, thinking ‘out of the box’, and living the ‘being’ part of human being.
Mr. Drake holds a bachelor’s and two Master’s degrees as well as numerous graduate certificates.
He is the recipient of the 2011 Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize.
Bogdan Dzakovic was a former leader of the FAA’s counter-terrorism unit ‘Red Team’ which, prior to 9/11, tested aviation security in airports around the world. The security systems failed around 75-90 percent of the time, but the FAA censored any written records of the failures, and banned retesting. After the attacks, the Red Team was grounded.
Dzakovic filed a formal whistleblower complaint with the OSC, which eventually ruled in favor of his allegation, stating that the FAA executed its civil aviation security mission in a manner that “was a substantial and specific danger to public safety.” Furthermore, not one person was held accountable for these actions – many of the involved employees and managers were rewarded.
But OSC disclosures, and their results, take time. When the TSA was created and took over airline security duties in the wake of the attacks, Dzakovic was retaliated against in the first week of its existence and reduced to performing administrative work.
Beatrice Edwards is the Acting Executive Director and International Relations Director at the Government Accountability Project (GAP). Before joining GAP, Ms. Edwards monitored loans and projects of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank for Public Services International, a global labor federation of public sector unions. In that capacity, she worked to ensure the Banks’ compliance with international labor conventions and national employment laws. She has also served as a Senior Specialist for Social and Economic Affairs at the Organization of American States, and is a contributing writer for the Texas Observer. She holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. in Sociology from American University, where she teaches from time to time.
Peter Forcelli is a supervisory Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms supervisory Special Agent outside Phoenix, Arizona, and a ten year federal law enforcement veteran. He is a key whistleblower in the disclosures that exposed Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice operation that funneled some 2,000 firearms to Mexican drug cartels as an infiltration technique, but one that resulted in many of the same weapons being used to kill civilians and ATF agents. He was a prominent witness at House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings, and also has been an active witness with investigators from OGRC, Senator Grassley, and the DOJ Office of Inspector General. He also has blown the whistle on failure to act after catching 114 disassembled hand grenades crossing the border. In response he has been accused of lying, placed under retaliatory investigation, subjected to record building, denied any contacts with DOJ absent official notification throughout the chain of command, and denied transfer to escape the hostile work environment. When we just escaped fiscal bankruptcy, there is no excuse to finance arms for drug smugglers who use taxpayer funds to kill our own citizens and law enforcement agents. But this outrage would have secretly continued were it not for whistleblowers like Mr. Forcelli.
Ami Gadhia is Senior Policy Counsel with the Washington, D.C. Office of Consumers Union. Her issues include product, food, and auto safety. Ms. Gadhia works with Congress and federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of her work.
Ms. Gadhia has testified for CU before Congress numerous times, has represented Consumers Union before the China Consumers Association, and frequently represents CU in the press on product, auto, and food safety policy issues. She is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Franz Gayl has served as a Marine for twenty-two years before he was hired by the Corps as a science and technology advisor. As an advisor, Gayl was requested by name by the Commanding General to deploy to Iraq in September, 2006, where he witnessed “gross mismanagement” in the procurement of urgently requested MRAPs and non-lethal weapons-an allegation which would later be validated during the course of a Department of Defense Inspector General audit. Had MRAPs – vehicles that are better able to protect troops from IED blasts than are armored Humvees – been available to troops, they could have prevented one third of troop deaths. After Gayl’s attempts to address this and other procurement problems through his chain of command were stymied, he blew the whistle to members of Congress, which resulted in Senators Biden, Bond, Kennedy, and Rockefeller calling on the Marine Corps to perform a complete review of how the Pentagon handles urgent wartime requests for equipment. The MRAP’s and other needed supplies finally were delivered, but the Marines has been viciously retaliating since. After several years of more conventional harassment failed, Mr. Gayl was placed under criminal investigation, had his security clearance suspended, and today was notified that he is being suspended indefinitely without pay on shamelessly pretextual charges of an unauthorized flash disk being in his computer. He has a “stay” request pending with the Office of the Special Counsel in what will be a significant test of the new leadership at the government’s whistleblower protection agency.
Mike German is a Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office. Prior to joining the ACLU German served sixteen-years as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he specialized in domestic terrorism and covert operations. German currently serves as an adjunct professor for Law Enforcement and Terrorism at the National Defense University and is a Senior Fellow with GlobalSecurity.org. German is the author of Thinking Like a Terrorist, which was published in January 2007. German has a B.A. in Philosophy from Wake Forest University and a J.D. from Northwestern University Law School.
The Hon. Susan Tsui Grundmann
Susan Tsui Grundmann was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 31, 2009 to serve as a Member and Chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 5, 2009. Ms. Grundmann’s term expires on March 1, 2016.
Previously, Ms. Grundmann served as General Counsel to the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), which represents 100,000 Federal workers nationwide and is affiliated with the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers. At NFFE, she successfully litigated cases in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In 2004, Ms. Grundmann represented NFFE and other labor unions in the statutory “meet and confer” process with officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which sought agreement on how to proceed with new DHS personnel regulations. She represented NFFE and the United Department of Defense Workers Coalition, consisting of 36 labor unions, and has served on the Coalition’s litigation team in a coordinated response to proposed personnel changes at the Department of Defense (DoD). In addition to DoD employees, Ms. Grundmann represented employees in the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Passport Services, Veterans Administration, General Services Administration, and some 25 additional Federal agencies. From 2003 to 2009, she was a regular instructor on Federal sector labor and employement law at the William W. Winpisinger Education Center in Placid Harbor, Maryland. Prior to joining NFFE, Ms. Grundmann served as General Counsel to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. She began her legal career as a law clerk to the judges of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit of Virginia, and later worked in both private practice and at the Sheet Metal Workers National Pension Fund.
Ms. Grundmann earned her undergraduate degree at American University and her law degree at Georgetown University Law Center.
Reuben A. Guttman
Reuben Guttman is a director at Grant & Eisenhofer. His practice involves complex litigation and class actions.He has represented clients in claims brought under the Federal False Claims Act, securities laws, the Price Anderson Act, Department of Energy (DOE) statutes and regulations, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and various employment discrimination, labor and environmental statutes. He has also tried and/or litigated claims involving fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, antitrust, business interference and other common law torts.
Mr. Guttman has been counsel in some of the largest recoveries under the Federal False Claims Act, including U.S. ex rel. Johnson v. Shell Oil Co., 33 F. Supp. 2d 528 (ED Tex. 1999), where over $300 million was recovered from the oil industry. He also represented one of the six main whistleblowers in litigation resulting in the government’s September 2009, $2.3 billion settlement with Pfizer Pharmaceutical.Cases brought by Mr. Guttman under the False Claims Act on behalf of a European whistleblower resulted in a $13 million settlement with a Department of Defense contractor. He is currently lead counsel in three pending False Claims Act cases where the United States Department of Justice has intervened on the side of his whistleblower clients.
Mr. Guttman served as lead counsel in a series of cases resulting in the recovery of more than $30 million under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Cases brought by Mr. Guttman on behalf of nuclear weapons workers at “Manhattan Project” nuclear weapons sites resulted in congressional oversight and changes in procurement practices, and dread disease compensation legislation, affecting the nation’s nuclear weapons complex and its workforce. In addition, he served as lead counsel in litigation brought on behalf of prison workers in the District of Columbia, which resulted in injunctive relief protecting workers against exposure to blood-borne pathogens. Mr. Guttman served as lead counsel in a mediation before the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, resulting in work place standards and back pay for minority employees at a large Texas oil refinery.
Mr. Guttman is the author and/or editor of numerous articles, book chapters, and technical publications and his commentary has appeared in Market Watch, American Lawyer Media, AOL Government, and Accounting Today. His article, Pharmaceutical Regulation in the United States; A Confluence of Influences, was published in Chinese by the Peking University Public Interest Law Journal, Vol 1, Page 187 (2010).He is co-author of Gonzalez v. Hewitt, SEC v. HG Pharmaceutical, and U.S. ex Rel Rodriguez v. Hughes which are case files published by the Emory University Law School Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution (2010) and used to train law students and practicing attorneys. He has appeared on ABC Nightly News, CNN, Bloomberg News, and has been quoted in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News and national wire services including the Associated Press,Reuters and Bloomberg.
In addition to his writings, Mr. Guttman has testified before committees of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate on the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). In 1992, he advised President-elect Clinton’s transition team on labor policy and worker health and safety regulation.
Mr. Guttman earned his law degree at Emory University Law School graduating in 1985, and his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Rochester in 1981. He is a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Emory University School of Law Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution and has been a Team Leader for Emory Law School’s Kessler-Eidson Trial Techniques Program. As part of a U.S. State Department program in conjunction with the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, he has been one of five visiting professors at Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City training Mexican Judges and practitioners on oral advocacy and trial practice. He is a contributing editor of a soon to be published text book on trial practice for Mexican practitioners.
Mr. Guttman is a faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. He has been a guest lecturer at a number of universities including Jao Tong University in Shanghai, Peking University in Beijing and Renmin University in Beijing. In 2006 he was invited by the Dutch Embassy in China to share his expertise with experts in China about changes to the nation’s labor laws.He is a Co-Founder of Voices for Corporate Responsibility, www.voicesforcorporateresponsibility.com, and founder of www.whistleblowerlaws.com and www.thecorporateinsider.com.
Amanda Hitt is the Food Integrity Campaign Director at the Government Accountability Project (GAP). Ms. Hitt 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.
The Hon. Paul Igasaki
Paul Igasaki was appointed Chair & Chief Judge of the Administrative Review Board in February, 2010. He was previously Deputy CEO of Equal Justice Works, a non-profit public interest organization. From 1994 to 2002 he served as Chair, Vice Chair and Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission appointed by President Bill Clinton. He also served as Executive Director of Asian Law Caucus, a San Francisco-based civil rights firm; as Washington Representative of the Japanese American Citizens League, a civil rights organization; as liaison to Asian Americans for the Mayor of Chicago and counsel to the Chicago Commission on Human Relations; as Staff Director of the American Bar Association pro bono project; and as Staff Attorney and Fellow to Legal Services of Northern California in Sacramento. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and King Hall, the University of California, Davis Law School.
LaQuita V. Honeysucker
LaQuita V. Honeysucker serves as a Legislative Representative in the Legislative and Political Action Department of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. She lobbies members of Congress on general labor issues including minimum wage and paid sick leave as well as food safety and healthcare.
Prior to assuming her role at UFCW, Ms. Honeysucker served as a Legislative Counsel in the office of Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott. As a member of Congressman Scott’s office, Ms. Honeysucker functioned as Congressman Scott’s staff representative on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, as well as the Judiciary Committee, including the Constitution subcommittee. Ms. Honeysucker provided counsel to the Congressman on pending legislation and policy initiatives related to general government issues, including, but not limited to, housing, church and state, civil rights, telecommunications, transportation, immigration and healthcare.
Ms. Honeysucker received her Juris Doctorate from the University Of Tennessee College Of Law in Knoxville, Tennessee. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. Ms. Honeysucker is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.
Edward Jeszka is a retired Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector and current member of the FAA Whistleblowers Alliance. Mr. Jeszka disclosed FAA waste fraud and abuse, misuse of federal funds and falsification of records and documents.
Paul Lawrence is of counsel to Waters & Kraus, LLP in its Washington D.C. metro office, where his practice is devoted to whistleblower representation in False Claims Act cases. Waters Kraus has a nationwide practice, with members of its qui tam group located in its Dallas, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and San Francisco offices, as well as the D.C. area. Mr. Lawrence is one of the deans of the qui tam bar, having devoted a substantial portion of his practice to whistleblower cases for almost a decade and a half. He is a frequent speaker at annual conferences of Taxpayers Against Fraud and will be presenting this year on ethics in qui tam practice at the conference scheduled for September 12th to 14th in the District. Mr. Lawrence is a 1976 graduate of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University, where he was elected to Order of the Coif and served as an editor of the Louisiana Law Review. He is admitted to practice Louisiana, Washington State and Texas, the United States Supreme Court, appellate courts for the Fifth, Ninth and D.C. Circuits and numerous federal district courts. He resides in Middleburg, Virginia.
The Hon. Carolyn Lerner
Carolyn Lerner heads the United States Office of Special Counsel. Her five-year term began in June 2011. Prior to her appointment as Special Counsel, Ms. Lerner was a partner in the Washington, D.C. civil rights and employment law firm Heller, Huron, Chertkof, Lerner, Simon & Salzman where she represented individuals in discrimination and employment matters, as well as non-profit organizations on a wide variety of issues. She previously served as the federal court appointed monitor of the consent decree in Neal v. D.C. Department of Corrections, a sexual harassment and retaliation class action.
Prior to becoming Special Counsel, Ms. Lerner taught mediation as an adjunct professor at George Washington University School of Law, and was mediator for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the D.C. Human Relations Commission. Ms. Lerner is in Best Lawyers in America with a specialty of civil rights law and is one of Washingtonian Magazine’s top employment lawyers.
Ms. Lerner earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan with highest honors, and her law degree from New York University (NYU) School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Snow public interest scholar. After law school, she served two years as a law clerk to the Hon. Julian Abele Cook, Jr., Chief U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Federal Air Marshal (FAM) Robert MacLean’s experience demonstrates the ongoing, critical need to codify the anti-gag statute. In 2003, MacLean revealed a cost-cutting plan to cancel FAM coverage from long distance flights on the eve of a confirmed al-Qaeda suicidal hijacking plan. The plan never went into effect after Congress protested – based solely on his whistleblowing disclosure.
Three years later, however, TSA fired him with a single charge of “Unauthorized Disclosure of Sensitive Security Information” (SSI) – an unclassified “hybrid secrecy” label the TSA retroactively applied to the information that he disclosed.
MacLean’s case is ongoing. But it should be noted that the attempted 2009 Christmas bombing by an Al-Qaeda agent is the exact same type of flight the MacLean blew the whistle on – a flight that did not have a FAM on it. Weeks after the attack, an anonymous TSA official shared with the media that FAMs were not on the NW253 because of “budget issues.”
Catherine McMullen is the Chief of the Disclosure Unit at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a position she has held since 1995. Ms. McMullen manages the whistleblower disclosure program at OSC including the review of allegations received from federal employees, former federal employees and applicants for federal employment, as well as the oversight of the Special Counsel’s requests for investigation pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 1213.
Ms. McMullen joined the U.S. Office of Special Counsel’s Prosecution Division in 1987. During her tenure in the Prosecution Division, she was detailed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Prior to her OSC employment, she was employed in the Litigation Division at the U.S. Department of Transportation. She also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of West Virginia and an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.
Ms. McMullen received both her J.D. and B.A. in Political Science from West Virginia University. She is a member of the State Bar of West Virginia.
Cyrus Mehri is a founding partner of the law firm Mehri & Skalet, PLLC. M&S litigates cases involving discrimination, civil and consumer rights violations and corporate fraud.
Mr. Mehri has served as co-lead class counsel in some of the largest and most significant race and gender cases in U.S. history: Roberts v. Texaco Inc., ($176 million; S.D.N.Y. 1997); Ingram v. The Coca-Cola Company ($192 million; N.D. Ga. 2001); Robinson v. Ford Motor Company ($10 million and 279 apprentice positions; S.D. Ohio 2005); August-Johnson v. Morgan Stanley ($47 million; D.D.C. 2007); Amachoev v. Smith Barney ($34 million; N.D. Cal. 2008); Norflet v. John Hancock Life Insurance Co. ($24 million; D. Conn. 2009), and Carter v. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC ($32 million; D.D.C. 2011). The hallmark of these settlements is innovative programmatic relief.
In 2002, Mr. Mehri released a seminal report on the National Football League’s record on hiring minority coaches, which resulted in the adoption of a comprehensive diversity plan by the League and a record number of African American head coaches and front office executives. Seven out of the last ten Super Bowl teams have had either a black general manager or black head coach.
In September 2008, Mr. Mehri testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee along with celebrated Supreme Court plaintiff Lilly Ledbetter about pay equity and the need to diversify the pools of candidates considered for the federal bench. A month later, Mr. Mehri released a paper with the American Constitution Society called “21st Century Tools for Advancing Equal Opportunity: Recommendations for the Next Administration.” The Lilly Ledbetter bill became the first legislation that President Barack Obama signed into law.
In 2010, Mr. Mehri co-founded Voices for Corporate Responsibility, a project designed to create a home for senior executives and professionals concerned about corporate wrongdoing and who seek to rectify those wrongs before Congress, regulators, and the Courts. The Securities and Exchange Commission relied in significant part on a written submission by Voices in finalizing its whistleblower rules in the landmark Dodd-Frank legislation.
Michael Ostrolenk co-founded and is National Director of the Liberty Coalition, a transpartisan coalition of groups working to protect civil liberties, privacy and human autonomy (2005- present). He is presently the coalition coordinator and public policy counsel for the Campaign for Liberty working on transparency and open government issues including Audit of the Federal Reserve. He also sits on the Steering Committee for Openthegovernment.org and Board Member for Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Carolyn Poplin, MD
Dr. Carolyn Poplin is an attorney, Board-certified general internist, and health policy analyst. She graduated from Yale Law School and practiced law for ten years with the Federal government (FDA, EPA) and at Mayer Brown. She then went to medical school and practiced medicine full time for fifteen years. She retired from Bethesda Naval Hospital in 2007 and served as a Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University Law Center, and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for American Progress. She currently consults on medical-legal matters. She has published numerous articles in the medical literature and the popular press on medical /legal questions and health reform.
Jesselyn Radack is the National Security & Human Rights Director at the Government Accountability Project (GAP). Ms. Radack graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and received her J.D. from Yale Law School. She 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.
Donna Rosenbaum is currently the CEO and lead consultant for Food Safety Partners, Ltd. of Northbrook, Illinois. Food Safety Partners is a national food safety consulting firm that specializes in consumer-based projects. She earned her degree in Neurobiology from Northwestern University and was working in healthcare management when E. coli disease claimed the life of her daughter’s best friend as the first victim in the Jack in the Box outbreak in 1992.Donna then became a committed food safety advocate and now has over 18 years of expertise in working on consumer food safety issues, both as a consultant and formerly as Executive Director of the consumer organization S.T.O.P.- Safe Tables Our Priority.She has personally worked with thousands of foodborne illness victims and consumers concerned with the safety of our food supply. She is a long-time member of IAFP, has recently spoken at the APHL conference on “The Impact of Emerging Foodborne Pathogens”, at a joint meeting of the USDA, FDA, & CDC on “Measuring Progress on Food Safety”, and has been an invited participant to the WHO/FERG stakeholder event in Geneva, Switzerland.Endeavors include consultation on various foodborne illness cases, development of material for management of recalls and outbreaks for a food industry insurance group, media and social media outreach platforms on food safety for interested corporations, regulatory and FMSA consultation for companies with technological/IT solutions.
Marc Rotenberg is Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC. He teaches information privacy law at Georgetown University Law Center and has testified before Congress on many issues, including access to information, encryption policy, consumer protection, computer security, and communications privacy. He testified before the 9-11 Commission on “Security and Liberty: Protecting Privacy, Preventing Terrorism.” He has served on several national and international advisory panels, including the expert panels on Cryptography Policy and Computer Security for the OECD, the Legal Experts on Cyberspace Law for UNESCO, and the Countering Spam program of the ITU. He chairs the ABA Committee on Privacy and Information Protection. He is a founding board member and former Chair of the Public Interest Registry, which manages the .ORG domain. He is editor of “The Privacy Law Sourcebook” and co-editor (with Daniel J. Solove and Paul Schwartz) of “Information Privacy Law” (Aspen Publishing 2006). He is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School. He served as Counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy on the Senate Judiciary Committee after graduation from law school. He is the recipient of several awards, including the World Technology Award in Law.
The Hon. Joanne Royce
Joanne Royce was appointed to the Administrative Review Board in July 2010. Royce has worked as a public interest attorney for over 2 decades. Prior to joining the Board, she worked for several years on the Hill – as senior counsel first for the House Energy and Commerce Committee and later for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Prior to her government service, Royce worked for 15 years with the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a non-profit law firm which represents whistleblowers. At GAP, she served as a program director, senior litigator and finally as General Counsel.
Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer
Lt Col Tony Shaffer is highly experienced intelligence officer, and recipient of the Bronze Star, with 25 years of field experience. Tony has commanded and directed several key operational intelligence organizations. These include Special Mission Task Force STRATUS IVY, that conducted direct support to DoD compartmented activities (OSD, SOCOM, JSOC, Army) which was focused on offensive information operations. In addition, he was in charge of Field Operating Base (FOB) Alpha, a joint DIA/CIA unit conducting classified collection and special operations support regarding terrorists just after the 9/11 attacks.
As Executive Vice President of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), Pete Sepp serves as deputy to NTU President Duane Parde. In this role, Sepp has helped to develop the 362,000-member NTU government affairs, public relations, and promotional strategies. Sepp also oversees strategic planning efforts for NTU and its staff. Additionally, Sepp directs and supervises the research and educational operations of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.
David Williams is the President of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA). In his 18 years in Washington, DC, David has become an expert in finding and exposing government waste and has helped fine tune criteria in identifying and ultimately eliminating earmarks. David has appeared on numerous television, radio, and print outlets such as ABC World News Tonight, The Jim Bohannon Show and The New York Times.
David’s international expertise ranges from appearing on government waste panels in South Korea and France and he has also advised taxpayer groups from around the world and was instrumental in helping form a taxpayer group in Great Britain.
Richard Wyeroski is a former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who disclosed an FAA cover-up and suppression of safety reports about runway incursions and near-misses.
Jason Zuckerman is Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. He has been recognized twice by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” and has substantial experience litigating whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, and wrongful discharge cases. Mr. Zuckerman has served as Co-Chair of the Whistleblower Subcommittee of the ABA Labor and Employment Section’s Employee Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Co-Chair of the Sarbanes-Oxley Subcommittee of the Fair Labor Standards Legislation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section, Co-Chair of the Whistleblower Committee of the District of Columbia Bar’s Labor and Employment Section, and Co-Chair of the National Employment Lawyers Association’s Whistleblower Committee. Mr. Zuckerman has worked with public interest groups to enact new whistleblower protection laws and strengthen existing laws and co-authored a chapter on litigating whistleblower cases for Whistleblowing: The Law of Retaliatory Discharge (BNA Books). He graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University and received his law degree from the University of Virginia.
Sponsors and Donors
The Washington Whistleblower Assembly thanks it’s wonderful sponsors for allowing us to continue offering high quality programing and community information sharing free of charge to the public at large. The 2011 Assembly is sponsored by:
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA)
International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW)
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)
Voices for Corporate Responsibility(VOICES)
The Washington Whistleblower Assembly also thanks our donors for contributions of goods, services, and space. Our 2011 donors include:
The Washington Whistleblower Assembly is open to the public and free of charge; however, we welcome and appreciate donations of time, money, resources and services. If you are interested in making a donation to the 2011 Washington Whistleblower Assembly, please contact Ginger Park, Conference Coordinator, at GingerP@whistleblower.org or at (202) 457-0034.
Workshops, Panels, and CLEs
We are happy to offer a number of plenary and concurrent workshops, panels, and CLEs led by issue experts in areas such as communications, national security, food safety, and more. Please check the schedule for exact times, locations, and the other details. Information of all workshops, panels, and CLEs will be posted beforehand. All events are free and open to the public.
This is a wonderful opportunity for attendees to develop a working knowledge in these areas, or to refresh and strengthen their existing knowledge. Question and answer sessions and informal discussions throughout the 2-day conference will facilitate information-sharing between presenters and participants, adding to the community-building aspect of the Washington Whistleblower Assembly.
Plenary sessions will be held Monday morning, September 19 at the Mott House. The Monday program will begin at 9:30AM following opening greetings. Session information will be updated as details are confirmed.
Plenary session locations:
Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Monday Plenary Sessions (Mott House)
Being RIGHT on Whistle-blowing: A Conservative Analysis (10:00AM-11:00AM)
As increasing numbers of people identify as fiscally conservative Independents, and Republicans hold the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, it is more and more important to understand whistleblower protection beyond a Left-of-Center issue. Conservative policy analysts and conservative whistleblowers will discuss why whistleblower protection is a conservative issue.
Moderated by: Michael Ostrolenk, Liberty Coalition
Panel participants: Lt. Col. Tony Schaffer; Pete Sepp, National Taxpayer Union, Executive Vice President; David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance; Peter Forcelli, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (STF) whistleblower
National Security Whistleblowers: Exposing Severe Wrongdoing In a Culture of Secrecy (11:40AM – 12:40PM)
National security whistleblowers often blow the whistle on the most serious government abuses (illegal surveillance, torture, etc) and suffer the worst reprisal (including criminal prosecution), all the while the government uses secrecy and national security to retaliate and cover-up wrongdoing. This panel will explore (1) how the culture of secrecy in national security agencies encourages “classifying” misconduct and embarrassing information; (2) how the culture of secrecy creates unique challenges for national security whistleblowers, including the lack of legal protections and the potential for severe retaliation; and (3) how a lack of public access to information and the particular difficulty the public has using FOIA and other tools when it comes to national security make protecting whistleblowers even more important.
Moderated by: Kathleen McClellan, National Security & Human Rights Counsel, Government Accountability Project
Panel participants: Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists; Michael German, Policy Counsel, American Civil Liberties Counsel; Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights Director, Government Accountability Project
All concurrent sessions will be held Monday afternoon on September 19, 2011 on Capitol Hill. Sessions will take place from 2:15PM to 3:15PM and from 3:30PM to 4:30PM. Session information will be updated as details are confirmed. Exact locations and room numbers will be updated as information becomes available.
Concurrent session locations:
Mott House, 122 Maryland Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Cannon House Office Building, U.S. House of Representatives
Rayburn House Office Building, U.S. House of Representatives
2:15PM – 3:15PM sessions
Will Whistle for Food: A Conversation about the Importance of Food Whistleblowers (food safety)
Whether you’re a courtroom lawyer, a rural farmer, or a legislator on the Hill, we are all consumers and we all have to eat. Not surprisingly, food safety issues are prominent in the media and the topic of much public debate – especially those debates involving budget cuts. Thankfully, food safety whistleblower provisions empower workers to protect food integrity and hardly cost a thing. This panel explores the legislative successes and lingering challenges on the horizon for food-related whistleblower bills. Experts will discuss the successful passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Whistleblower Provision, the needs of meat and poultry whistleblowers, and the role of the WPEA in protecting the overall food supply.
Moderated by Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign Director, Government Accountability Project
Panel Participants: Donna Rosenbaum, Consultant, Food Safety Partners, Ltd.; Tony Corbo, Senior Lobbyist – Food Campaign, Food & Water Watch; Ami Gadhia, Senior Policy Counsel, Consumers Union; LaQuita V. Honeysucker, Legislative Representative, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union,
Is the Government Making the Most out of Whistleblower Statutes? (street law session)
Recoveries under the Federal False Claims Act have been over 20 billion since 1986 and some are claiming success. With Medicare-Medicaid fraud alone estimated at 60 billion dollars per year, are we really doing all that we can under the law? With cases investigated and settled under seal, are the cases being used to expose wrongdoing or conceal it? Are settlements punishing companies or setting a license fee for the right to break the law? How can we better use the statute for the benefit of the Government and taxpayers? The panel will also ask the question: “Now that Dodd-Frank allows bounties to be paid to whistleblowers, what problems can we expect and what lessons can be learned from experiences under the False Claims Act?”
Moderated by: Reuben Guttman, Chair, Grant & Eisenhofer Whistleblower Litigation Group
Panel Participants: Cyrus Mehri, Partner, Mehri Skalet; Paul Lawrence, Of-Counsel, Waters & Krauss; Traci Buschner, Senior Counsel, Grant & Eisenhofer; Carolyn Poplin, MD, Independent Expert on Medicare Fraud Cases
Working with the Office of Special Counsel (street law session)
No other entity in government has the potential to provide more support for more whistleblowers than the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. But the OSC always has been a frustration, and hit bottom under now criminally-convicted Scott Bloch. Besides not helping whistleblowers, he issued gags on and was the target of reprisal lawsuits from his own staff. President Obama has appointed a new Special Counsel, however, with a lifelong commitment to the values of our community. She has picked a leadership team from the most seasoned, effective employee rights activists in our community. This is an opportunity for a fresh start that we should not waste. Part of the challenge from our end is to understand the realistic limits of what we can expect, and learning how to work most effectively reaching maximum potential. Two senior leaders of the OSC have volunteered their time for this teaching workshop, both with respect to retaliation complaints and whistleblowing disclosures. This is a unique street law tutorial for whistleblowers and practitioners alike.
Moderated by: Tom Devine, Legal Director, Government Accountability Project
Panel Participants: Jason Zuckerman, Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Counsel at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel; Catherine McMullen, Chief of the Disclosure Unit at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel
3:30PM – 4:30PM
The FAA and the Whistleblower Threat (federal employee protection)
Members of the FAA Whistleblowers Alliance (FWA) will present information on and discuss:1) The Importance of Jury Trials, 2) Is My Case “Too Old” to pursue? 3) What Are The Weapons Used to Silence You? 4) How Does The FAA Deal with Whistleblower Complaints? 5) What Happens When FAA Executives Lie to Congress? 6) What Is The “Margin Of Safety” and Who’s Responsibility Is It?
Workshop Participants: Gabe Bruno, FAA Whistleblower Alliance, Executive Director; Richard Wyeroski, FAA whistleblower; Robert MacLean, TSA/federal Air Marshal whistleblower; Edward Jeszka, FAA whistleblower and retired FAA Aviation Safety Inspector
Whistleblower Advocacy in a Changing Media Landscape (media workshop)
Want to add your voice to the chorus of growing supporters of whistleblower rights, government and corporate accountability, and civil liberties? Don’t know where to start? Interested in how to strategically blog and use social media tools such as Twitter and online petitions to your advantage? Want to get a handle on what everything is? Join GAP Communications Director Dylan Blaylock for a talk aimed at explaining how GAP drums up support using these measures, and how to get started (or continue using) these valuable tools to make real change happen.
Workshop Presenter: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director, Government Accountability Project
Changes in Corporate Whistleblower Rights Since 2006 (street law session)
Since 2002 there has been a legal revolution in corporate free speech rights. Now the lion’s share of private sector whistleblowers have gold standard protections against retaliation that are still a distant dream for federal employees, even if the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act passes. This workshop is a tutorial by GAP on the new rights; by the National Whistleblower Center on the exciting new Dodd Frank program to be rewarded for making a difference in successful enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission or Commodities Future Trading Commission; and by a judge on the Department of Labor’s highest appellate body, the Administrative Review Board, for how to act on your rights most effectively. For corporate workers, it’s a chance to learn the full extent and limits of your new rights. For federal employees, it offers a baseline for what you should be receiving, and the vision for our future campaigns.
Workshop Presenter: Tom Devine, Legal Director, Government Accountability Project
Workshop Participants: The Hon. Joanne Royce, Administrative Review Board Judge, US Department of Labor; David K. Colapinto, General Counsel, National Whistleblowers Center
Have a great idea to share with fellow whistleblowers, public rights activists advocates, and activists? Consider participating in the Monday evening Expression Session! We are excited to offer attendees the opportunity to get involved and share their interests through prepared displays in an “open mic” – type forum. Participants are encouraged to submit posters or other displays showing their work, research, or issue(s) of interest. This is a great way for whistleblowers to share information about their specific case, or for authors to share displays about recent publications.
The Monday evening Expression Session will include a talk on The Corporate Whistleblower’s Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth by author and GAP Legal Director Tom Devine, as well as a discussion with Canary in the Coalmine: Blowing the Whistle in the Case of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh author and GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack.