Summary: More consumer groups have publicly critiqued USDA's plan to shift poultry inspection duties to companies (expanding aprogram known as HIMP) in comments filed this week. Concerns included a lack of specific requirements for microbiological testing, or training for company employees taking over federal inspectors' roles.
Key Quote: The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, and Consumers Union each sharply criticized the proposal in their comments filed before the Tuesday deadline, which had been pushed back a month in response to sharp criticism raised by the Government Accountability Project, Food & Water Watch, and poultry inspectors.
Summary: A federal judge has dismissed the US Department of Energy from the lawsuit brought by Hanford nuclear site whistleblower Walt Tamosaitis, which had alleged that the department played a role in his retaliation. His main suit against contractor URS, however, is set to move forward.
Summary: This week, the FDA rejected a petition submitted in 2010 by the Corn Refiners Association to identify high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as "corn sugar." GAP client and whistleblower Renee Dufault, who has helped expose a number of problems associated with HFCS, says FDA made the right call.
Summary: The recent excessive spending scandal at the General Services Administration may encourage other whistleblowers to step forward, hopes this author. However, fear of retaliation and a lack of awareness of resources and protections often make it hard to do so. Recently, the Senate passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.
Key Quote: Government Accountability Project (GAP) Legal Director Tom Devine applauded the move and encouraged further action.
"This is the fourth time the Senate has unanimously approved similar legislation to restore protections for federal whistleblowers," he said in a statement. "The spotlight now shifts to the House of Representatives, where action is long overdue. Despite unanimous approval last November, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has not yet reported the bill to the full House."
Summary: GAP client and former DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) general counsel Theresa Cusick’s battle for reinstatement finally headed to court earlier this week, but the case has been delayed until September. Cusick blew the whistle in 2007 by telling a US assistant attorney that an officer involved in a cheating scandal should not be relied upon for active duty. She was later transferred out of her position.
Key Quote: After she was transferred, Cusick filed suit, under the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act. Richard Condit—the ex-GC’s lawyer and legal director of the Government Accountability Project—and Cusick are fighting to have her reinstated as general counsel and to collect damages.
Summary: This article is calling for an international whistleblower movement to try to improve whistleblower rights around the world. Many countries have no legislation protecting whistleblowers, and in many places it is considered culturally unacceptable. A number of whistleblower advocates gathered in Berlin last week to discuss many of these issues.
Key Quote: In many countries, the leaders of national whistleblower organisations are fighting to keep strong whistleblower laws intact, amid challenges from well-funded interests and adverse court rulings that have chiseled away at these protections. Bea Edwards of the US’ Government Accountability Project, David Hutton of Canada’s Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform, and Cathy James of the UK’s Public Concern at Work all spoke about their struggles to keep each of their country’s renowned whistleblower laws strong, while also advocating for their fair, consistent implementation.
Summary: According to this author, one of the main takeaways from yesterday’s report about a whistleblower who received $31 million for her allegations of home loan fraud against Citigroup is that the banks have learned little since the bailout. Citigroup acknowledged the fraud, and it has likely been happening even into 2012.
Summary: A whistleblower who spoke out about animal abuse within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry is now facing possible expulsion from the board of the sport’s breeders association. Related Article: WLS (NY)
Summary: This edition of the Leonard Lopate Show takes a look back at the 1970-72 Knapp Commission investigation into police corruption in New York City. The investigation was prompted by the disclosures of NYPD whistleblower Frank Serpico.