(Washington, D.C.) – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) praised the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) for today’s announcement of a new Whistleblower Ombudsman position. The job will include monitoring of whistleblowing disclosures and retaliation claims, communications with whistleblowers on the status of their cases, and liaison with other whistleblower protection agencies such as the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. GAP has long advocated for the creation of Ombudsman offices at the DOJ and other OIGs, as evidence of a commitment to establishing effective working relationships with whistleblowers. Institutional Ombudsman offices are required by the pending Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), as well.
Regarding new DOJ OIG Michael Horowitz, GAP Legal Director Tom Devine commented, “In announcing this new position, Mr. Horowitz is off to a flying start toward earning trust from whistleblowers and their advocates. At GAP, we know that any Ombudsman faces tough tasks but whoever assumes this new position at DOJ will certainly confront challenges. There is a history of mutual distrust between whistleblowers and the DOJ OIG, and OIG staff who have worked closely with whistleblowers in the past faced suspicion and harassment. The relationship between whistleblowers and government investigators inherently is difficult and strained, at best. But a working relationship is indispensable for effective law enforcement, and OIGs can play a major role in preventing retaliation or nipping it in the bud. The Ombudsman post is an institutional commitment to start reaching that potential.”
Contact: Tom Devine, Legal Director
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 124
Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.