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March for Science Teach-In: Speaking Up For Science: Whistleblowing

Over the years, hundreds of science professionals have spoken out about censorship, environmental dangers, threats to public health and safety and gross mismanagement they discovered in the course of their work. By refusing to stay silent in the face of direct evidence of abuses that betray the public trust, these employees—whistleblowers—are often the best mechanism for holding the powerful accountable and protecting the public interest. In a political climate hostile to science, facts and information transparency, the need to support employees who exercise their rights to report serious misconduct is more important than ever.

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a non-partisan public interest organization that litigates whistleblower cases, helps expose wrongdoing to the public, and actively promotes government and corporate accountability. Since 1977, GAP has helped over 8,000 whistleblowers. In this teach-in, we explained the crucial role science whistleblowers play in protecting consumers, workers, and the environment; described the rights of and risks to science employees who disclose violations of law, gross mismanagement, abuse of authority, serious threats to public health and safety or censorship; and offered new guides for employees, public interest advocates and journalists on whistleblowing.

When: Saturday, April 14, 2018, 10:00 AM

Where: National Mall, 15th Street and Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20565

Cost: Free  


Working With Whistleblowers: A Sunshine Week Training for Public Interest Advocates

This training will offer advocates key insights and practice tips for working effectively with whistleblowers and information disclosed by whistleblowers, in order to turn their information into power while ensuring the employee truth-teller is not harmed in the course of advocacy.

Topics will include:

  • Whistleblowing 101: What (and Who) is a Whistleblower?
  • The Legal Landscape: The Complicated Patchwork of Whistleblower Protection Laws in the US
  • Reprisal Risks to Whistleblowers & Public Interest Organizations
  • Issues with Anonymity
  • Best Practices for Public Interest Advocates

When: Thursday, March 18, 2018; 11:00 AM - 12:00PM

Where: OpenGov Hub, 1110 Vermont Avenue NW #500, Washington, DC, 20005

Cost: Free and space is limited! Register here


Truth Be Told: Whistleblowers, Journalists & Democracy

In celebration of Sunshine Week, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Freedom of Information Committee and SPJ’s Washington DC chapter have teamed up with the Government Accountability Project to tell the stories of two whistleblowers who stood up for transparency in the face of reprisal, and two journalists who have worked with brave sources to report the truth.

Government employees who reported serious abuses at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will share their experiences blowing the whistle, and seasoned journalists who have covered whistleblower issues and worked with whistleblowers will share how they worked with to verify and report their sources’ information while minimizing their risk of retaliation.

Panelists will include whistleblowers Brandon Coleman and Larry Criscione, and journalists Joe Davidson and Jenna McLaughlin. The event will be moderated by Dana Gold, attorney and GAP’s Director of Education and Danielle McLean, SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee Chair and Investigative Reporter at ThinkProgress.

When: Wednesday, March 14, 2018; 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Where: UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, 4340 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, Room 518, Washington, DC, 20008

Cost: Free and open to the public, but space is limited. Register here


Sunshine Week 2018: Fighting for Transparency & Freedom of Information

Join several of the nation's leading journalism and freedom of information advocates to preview Sunshine Week 2018, which will take place March 11-17. Sunshine Week is a nationwide celebration of access to public information. 

When: Friday, March 9, 2018, 8:30 AM

Where: Knight TV Studio, 555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20001

Cost: Free and open to the public. Register here

Watch the event live here


Whistleblowers, Free Speech, and the ACLU's Court Case on Iowa's "Ag-Gag" Law

Food Integrity Campaign Director Amanda Hitt will participate in a panel sponsored by Georgetown Law's ACLU Student Association.

When: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Where: Room 110 (McDonough), Georgetown University Law School, 600 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001 (4-5 PM)


Know Your Rights Presentation

Government Accountability Project Legal Director Tom Devine will lead a Know Your Rights training for the Montgomery County Civic Federation. 
Legal Disclaimer: GAP does not represent MCCF. 

When: Monday, February 12, 2018; 7:00 PM

Where: Montgomery County Executive Office Building, Lower Lobby Auditorium. 101 Monroe St. Rockville, Maryland, 20850

Cost: Free and open to the public

Health, Animal Welfare, and Environment: Balancing Public and Private Interests in the Ag Sector

In Idaho, Utah, and now Wyoming, federal courts have struck down, as unconstitutional speech restrictions, “Ag Gag” statutes aimed at criminalizing photography and undercover investigations at animal agriculture facilities. Challengers have defeated many of these corporate-backed attempts to trample the First Amendment rights of activists and journalists, but the fight continues with new legal challenges on the horizon. Come hear about how the Animal Legal Defense Fund is taking Ag Gag to court—and winning.

When: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 from 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Where: Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511 Room 129

Cost: Free to the public! No reservations required.

GAP/SPJ Whistleblower Training

The Government Accountability Project and the Society of Professional Journalists invite you to a training that will offer journalists and members of the general public insights from legal professionals on how to work effectively and safely with whistleblowers who report on serious violations of public trust within government and the private sector.

When: Monday, October 2, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:00 PM

Where: 640 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Georgetown University)

Cost: Free for SPJ members and Georgetown students. Non-members pay $5.

Truth Be Told: Reflections from Whistleblowers, State Farm Ethics Presentation

GAP's Director of Education and Strategic Partnerships, Dana Gold, moderatesd a panel highlighting the importance of transparency and accountability from whistleblowers themselves. Panelists included Walt Tamosaitis, the former deputy chief process engineer and research and technology manager for the Waste Treatment Plant at the Hanford Nuclear Site in Eastern Washington, who blew the whistle about safety issues and Richard Bowen, the former business chief underwriter for Citigroup who warned executive management about risky business practices and potential losses related to mortgage lending. 

When: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 from 1:30 - 2:45 PM

Where: Lied Center for Performing Arts, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Cost: Free to students and the community.

35th International Symposium on Economic Crime: Preventing & Controlling Crime in the Modern World

In considering how to better discourage and control economic crime we examined the real threats facing our economies and in particular those who look after other people’s wealth not just from criminals and terrorists, but also indirectly as a result of law enforcement and regulatory intervention. We also contexted these risks and the responses not only in terms of the law, but also regulation and especially compliance practice. Therefore in every specialist panel or workshop there is an array of relevant practical experience and expertise. 

GAP's Legal Director Tom Devine and Director of Education and Outreach Dana Gold participated on a number of panels covering the issues of international whistleblower law.

When: Thursday, September 7, 2017 from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM; 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Where: Jesus College, Cambridge University, United Kingdom


Whistleblower Summit Panel 1: “Whistleblower Legislative Campaigns”

GAP and the Make It Safe Coalition celebrated truth-tellers who risk their livelihoods to disclose fraud, wrongdoing, and abuse of authority on behalf of the public interest. Prominent whistleblowers, government officials, and members of the nonprofit community gathered for the annual Whistleblower Summit for a series of panels to discuss progress made toward adequate whistleblower protection legislation and outline how future campaigns can address the issues.

Panelists included Tom Devine (GAP), Elizabeth Hempowicz (Project on Government Oversight), DeLisa Lay (Senate Judiciary Committee), Charles Moskowitz (Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee), Krista Boyd (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee), and Courtney Allen (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee).

When: Thursday, July 27, 2017 from 2:30 – 3:30 PM

Where: 2247 Rayburn House Office, 45 Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC 20219

Cost: Free to the public!


Whistleblower Summit Panel 2: “The Office of Special Counsel and Merit Systems Protection Board: Past, Present, and Future”

Panelists included Tom Devine (GAP), Tristan Leavitt (U.S. Office of Special Counsel), Mark Robbins (Merit Systems Protection Board), and Brandon Coleman (Veterans Affairs whistleblower).

When: Friday, July 28, 2017 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM

Where: The Stewart E. Mott House 122 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002

Cost: Free to the public!


Whistleblower Summit: Advanced Screening of “Frank Serpico” Film

The documentary viewing followed a book signing by prominent whistleblowers including Sharyl Attkisson and Bradley Birkenfeld. The screening and book signing were just two events of this year’s MISC summit, which gave whistleblowers, advocates, conference attendees, and the public an opportunity to promote camaraderie and build broad community support.

When: Thursday, July 27, 2017 from 6:00 – 10:00 PM

Where: Busboys and Poets (Brookland) 625 Monroe Street NE, Washington, DC 20017

Cost: Free to the public!


GAP’s March for Science Teach-In: “Whistleblowers: Speaking Up for Science”

The teach-in, led by GAP’s Dana Gold, helped educate attendees about both the role whistleblowers play in protecting the public interest and promoting science-based public policy, and inform science professionals about their legal rights and strategies for disclosing evidence of serious wrongdoing.

Read Dana's reflection on the March for Science here

When: Saturday, April 22, 2017 10:00 AM

Where: 2 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20024 – Tent 8

Cost: Free to the public!

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