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Senate Establishes National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

Aug 13, 2014

The U.S. Senate, by unanimous resolution, declared July 30, 2013 National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.

The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) announced the action and noted the tremendous contributions whistleblowers have made to American democracy, as well as their struggles and sacrifices.

The resolution (S.Res.202) not only designated the National Whistleblower Appreciation Day but also encouraged government agencies to recognize the day in a number of ways, including informing employees, contractors working on behalf of United States taxpayers, and members of the public about the legal rights of citizens of the United States to blow the whistle; and acknowledging the contributions of whistleblowers to combating waste, fraud, abuse, and violations of laws and regulations in the United States.

Stephen M. Kohn, executive director of the NWC, urged “all Americans to reflect on these past sacrifices and accomplishments and show support for the whistleblowers today who are fighting to defend their reputations, their jobs and their freedom after exposing lies at the highest levels of government and frauds that have robbed tax-payers and investors of countless billions." Kohn said the appreciation day is a first step in changing a workplace culture that has made it difficult for citizens to “blow the whistle in the public interest.” Kohn referred to words of the Founding Fathers from July 30, 1778: “That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States as well as all other the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of ay misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.”

Whistleblowers have played an important role in recent years in the financial crisis. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded more than $875,000 to two individuals who provided tips to the agency in an enforcement action. And whistleblowers helped expose the Veterans Affairs health care scandal. The U.S. Office of the Special Counsel is investigating alleged retaliation against 37 whistleblowers in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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