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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

Supporting Science Whistleblowers

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March for Science Teach-In:

The Government Accountability Project hosted a teach-in, entitled “Speaking Up for Science: Whistleblowing,” at the March for Science on April 14, 2018. The teach-in was led by GAP’s Director of Education, Dana Gold, and will explained the crucial role science whistleblowers play in protecting consumers, workers, and the environment; describe 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.

 

March for Science:

For the second consecutive year, GAP proudly partners with the March for Science as part of the movement to uphold scientific integrity, support scientists, and promote evidence-based policymaking. 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.

In response to the escalating assault on science and the chilling effect this has had on the federal science agency workforce, since the last March for Science the Government Accountability Project has created three new valuable resources about whistleblowing:

Speaking Up for Science: A Guide to Whistleblowing for Federal Employees

Working with Whistleblowers: A Guide for Public Interest Organizations

Working with Whistleblowers: A Guide for Journalists

Help support science whistleblowers! Share these new guides on whistleblowing with your friends and colleagues: www.whistleblower.org/whistleblower-guides

 

Gallery of Science Whistleblowers:

 

Engineer Walt Tamosaitis raised concerns about serious technical flaws at the Department of Energy’s Waste Treatment Plant at the Hanford nuclear site. These flaws, if unaddressed, could have resulted in a nuclear accident on the scale of Fukushima. Dr. Tamosaitis’s disclosures, validated by independent investigations, resulted in stopping the multi-million dollar project pending resolution of those concerns.

 

 

USDA veterinarian Dr. Dean Wyatt reported horrendous, unlawful instances of animal abuse at slaughterhouses in Oklahoma and Vermont, including the shackling and bleeding out of conscious pigs and allowing livestock to be trampled and killed while unloaded from trucks. His disclosures prompted the shutdown of one of the plants and reforms to the federal inspection program.

 

 

 

 

Physicist Aldric Saucier blew the whistle on gross mismanagement and waste of funds associated with the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, otherwise known as the Star Wars program), an anti-nuclear missile defense project with biased and incomplete research. It was funded by misleading Congress about the efficacy of the program being developed. Mr. Saucier’s disclosures substantially eroded political support for the SDI program.

 

 

 

 

FDA safety researcher Dr. David Graham’s research showed that the painkiller Vioxx had caused 88,000 to 139,000 heart attacks, with a 30 to 40% fatality rate. Dr. Graham went to Congress after the FDA attempted to suppress his findings. His disclosures resulted in Merck pulling Vioxx off the shelves and exposed FDA bias in favor of the pharmaceutical industry over the science.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Susan Wood, who served as FDA Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health for five years, concluded in 2005 that Bush administration politics, rather than safety or efficacy concerns, was tying up the approval of Plan-B (the “morning-after pill”). Dr. Wood resigned from her position in protest and spoke our forcefully that FDA science was being held captive by the “pro-life movement,” sharing her story across the country and voicing her concerns over the state of public health policy.

 

 

 

 

Rick Piltz served as a long-time senior associate in the coordination office of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. During the George W. Bush Administration, Mr. Piltz became aware that White House officials were improperly censoring scientific program reports on global warming intended for the public and Congress--editing out scientific findings on the strong human impact on climate change. Mr. Piltz decided to leave the government, and contacted GAP to release copies of the edited reports to The New York Times that documented the actual hand-editing by White House official Philip Cooney – a lawyer and former climate team leader with the American Petroleum Institute. The disclosures sparked a media frenzy that resulted in Cooney's resignation, who found a job at ExxonMobil days later.

 

 

Joel Clement directed the Department of Interior’s Office of Policy Analysis and assessed the impacts of climate change on Native Arctic communities. In June 2017, Clement and dozens of senior officials were involuntarily reassigned as part of a larger systematic effort within President Donald Trump’s administration to marginalize employees whose work focuses on climate change and other environmental issues. Clement wrote a scathing letter of condemnation in The Washington Post entitled “I’m a Scientist. I’m blowing the whistle on the Trump administration.” He called out the administration for its dismissal of climate change issues and for silencing civil servants.

 

 

 

Larry Criscione, an engineer and risk analyst with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), became increasingly alarmed that the Oconee nuclear power plant in South Carolina was at risk of flooding and undergoing a meltdown similar to the disaster at Fukushima. When his warnings went unheeded, he blew the whistle by reporting to Congress in 2012 that the NRC was failing to act on evidence that Oconee and nearly a quarter of the nation's nuclear plants could not withstand an upstream dam break, a risk that escalates as climate change exacerbates the threat of flooding. Criscione’s disclosures have drawn public attention to the urgent need to prevent a flood-related nuclear disaster; he received the 2016 Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage.