National Whistleblower Appreciation Day
From an article by Gordon Schnell
22 August 2016
It's sadly telling that last month National Whistleblower Appreciation Day (July 30) came and went with little notice let alone the fanfare it deserved. The U.S. Senate passed the resolution recognizing the special day on July 7 to honour whistleblowers for the critical role they play.
July 30 was chosen to be the celebrated day because it was on this day in 1778 that the country’s original whistleblower law was first inked: That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States . . . to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.
As part of the resolution, the newly formed government also agreed to pay for the legal defense of the whistleblowers who as it turned out were also the subject of retaliation.
On the one hand, there remains a clear recognition on the part of Congress that whistleblowers are instrumental in uncovering wrongdoing and must be encouraged to step forward and, on the other hand, strongly protected from reprisal for doing so.
Despite this strong Congressional support, whistleblower retaliation is as virulent as ever. Multiple studies by the Ethics Resource Center puts the retaliation rate at more than one in five for those reporting corporate wrongdoing. Veteran’s Affairs tried to silence war veterans through a systematic campaign of isolation, intimidation, harassment and ultimately expulsion.
Of the 30 synonyms for the word whistleblower the vast majority are deeply derogatory and paint the whistleblower as dishonest, disloyal and driven by unsavory motives -- Betrayer, Bigmouth, Fink, Rat, Snitch, Squealer, Tattletale and Troublemaker.
Whistleblowers who have rooted out corruption include Mark Felt (Deep Throat); Daniel Elsberg (Pentagon Papers); Frank Serpico (NYPD); Jeffrey Wigand (tobacco); Sherron Watkins (Enron); Harry Markopolos (Madoff); Cheryl Eckard (GSK). [Julian Assange (Wikileaks), Edward Snowdon (NSA)].
So if you haven't done so already, next time you're given the chance, thank a whistleblower for a job well done.
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