A Look Back at our Work with Whistleblowers

Over the last few years, we’ve seen employees of conscience make a difference like never before. Whistleblowers exposed abuse of migrants in detention centers, corruption at the Drug Enforcement Administration, mismanagement at Voice of America, secret financial dealings of Afghanistan and Kurdish leaders, and problems with the government’s response to the coronavirus. And that’s just a start!

Our team at Government Accountability Project is proud to have worked with truth-tellers that have made a difference. As we reach the end of 2021, we’re taking a look at the progress we made last year.

One metric we’re proud of is working with over 75 whistleblowers in 2020. Over the past decade, we’ve increased the number of intakes we receive by over threefold. Both of these data points demonstrate the impact of our organization. We serve those who come forward in issue areas including government; corporate and finance; energy, environment, and climate change; international; national security; and public health. Government Accountability Project is also the home of Climate Science & Policy Watch and the Food Integrity Campaign. We’re excited to continue growing and serving more whistleblowers in a variety of sectors.

It was also a big year for legislation. We collaborated on over 28 bills, six of which were key legislative victories:

  1. Passed the Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which provides the strongest, best practice whistleblower rights to date for corporate employees challenging violations of Treasury Department laws;
  2. Updated the No Fear Act to strengthen requirements for training on whistleblower and equal opportunity laws;
  3. Expanded anti-gag provisions in government contractor whistleblower law to cover all gag orders;
  4. Passed an amendment that allows the federal government to cancel contracts with contractors who violate whistleblower law;
  5. Expanded rights for non-intelligence employees to make classified disclosures to Congress; and
  6. Passed the DC foster care ombudsman law, which creates an independent ombudsman’s office with best practice whistleblower rights for the foster care system.

Our legislative initiatives make a real difference for employees of conscience by providing additional rights in the challenging whistleblower landscape. Looking forward, we hope to continue making an impact as the international leader in whistleblower advocacy and disclosures.

Another key part of our mission is education and partnerships. Outreach allows us to spread awareness about whistleblowing and connect with like-minded organizations. In 2020, we launched the Democracy Protection Initiative (DPI), which recognizes the many threats elections face, and closely followed it in 2021 with Bearing Witness, a program focused on the role faith communities play in an employee’s decision to blow the whistle. DPI was joined by 30 partner organizations and Bearing Witness was joined by 17 partner organizations, along with 26 clergy members from a wide variety of faiths. We’re proud to have the support of so many extraordinary partners who allow us to have an even greater impact on the whistleblower landscape and civil society domestically and internationally.

As one year ends and the next begins, we want to end our reflection by acknowledging one additional part of our success – you! Whether it’s making a donation to support our work, engaging with us on social media, or telling a friend about an article you read in our newsletter, you make a difference. Whistleblowers have gone from facing ostracism to being celebrated as everyday heroes. Four decades ago, whistleblowers were thought of as pariahs, now according to recent polling 86% of voters believe they should be protected. The cultural shift has occurred because folks like you now support them. Please keep on doing your part. We’re happy to have you and look forward to the progress we’ll make together in 2022.