Government Accountability2020-06-09T15:40:31-04:00

Government Accountability

Through a combination of investigation, litigation, advocacy, and educational outreach, Government Accountability Project has helped clients at all levels expose criminal activity and abuse from various federal agencies and departments. Frequently, we work with government investigators, regulators, and law enforcement agencies to convey client concerns.

Additionally, our team trains managers and staff on whistleblowing law and procedure both domestically and abroad. Over the course of our history, we have trained tens of thousands of employees, governmental leaders, and policy makers from around the globe.

For more than ten years, Government Accountability Project led a bipartisan coalition of over 400 organizations and companies in a campaign to restore whistleblower rights for federal government employees and contractors. On November 27, 2012, Government Accountability Project’s tireless work paid off and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) was signed into law.

Spotlight on Immigration

Government Accountability Project has a history of working with immigration whistleblowers. Our former clients include Cathy Harris, a former senior inspector for the U.S. Customs Service (USCS) at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. Harris disclosed that USCS had been practicing discriminatory racial profiling. Harris’ revelations resulted in a landmark GAO study of USCS profiling practices and federal legislation to reform these unconstitutional practices.

Beginning in 2018, Government Accountability Project has been representing government whistleblowers who work within the U.S. immigration system. In the summer of 2018, Drs. Pamela McPherson and Scott Allen blew the whistle on the Trump administration’s child detention practices. Having been hired by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS-CRCL) to serve as subject matter experts, the doctors described the substandard and dangerously lax medical care children were receiving at detention centers. As can be read in their whistleblower profile below, the doctors have written to the U.S. Congress multiple times, spoken to dozens of media outlets, and won several prestigious truth-telling awards, honors from the Ridenhour Prizes and Physicians for Human Rights.

Government Accountability Project also represents Ellen Gallagher, a former policy adviser at CRCL and current employee at DHS’ Office of the Inspector General, who has blown the whistle repeatedly on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) use of solitary confinement on mentally ill and medically vulnerable adults across the 200+ immigration detention facilities in clear violation of federal laws and detention standards.

Government Accountability Project is proud to represent immigration whistleblowers, who help hold our immigration system accountable to the public and to high standards of human rights. If you are an employee or contractor in the U.S. immigration system and are considering blowing the whistle, fill out our intake form here.

Media for Immigration Whistleblowers

Sign On Re: DHS Measures the Threaten Safety and Family Unity of Immigrant Children

June 16, 2020 Chad Wolf Acting Secretary Department of Homeland Security 301 7th Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20528 Re: Recent DHS Measures That Threaten the Safety and Family Unity of Vulnerable Immigrant Children Dear Acting Secretary Wolf: The undersigned 122 organizations strongly oppose recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) measures that threaten the safety and family unity of vulnerable immigrant children. DHS appears to have disregarded the lessons of 2018, when its family separation policy [...]

Press Release: Giraffe Heroes Project Awards Two Immigration Whistleblowers for Compassionate Risk-taking 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  June 17, 2020  Giraffe Heroes Project Awards Two Immigration Whistleblowers for   Compassionate Risk-taking  Government Accountability Project Clients Among Awardees  WASHINGTON – Last week, the Giraffe Heroes Project announced the recipients of its “Giraffe Heroes” award, an annual award given to individuals who demonstrated compassionate risk-taking. Two of this year’s awardees are Government Accountability Project clients and immigration whistleblowers, Ellen Gallagher and Doug Stephens.   In 2015, Gallagher, then a specialist for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office for Civil [...]

Houston Chronicle: 1 in 5 immigrants at ICE detention in Houston has COVID-19

Note: this article, featuring our client Dr. Scott Allen and our Senior Counsel and Director of Education Dana Gold, was originally published here. 1 in 5 immigrants at ICE detention in Houston has COVID-19 More than 1 in 5 immigrants held at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Houston have tested positive with the new coronavirus as the rate of infection has nearly tripled there, raising concerns from health experts. As of the [...]

PBS News Hour: WATCH: Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on incarceration practices during COVID-19

Note: this video and article, featuring our client Dr. Scott Allen, was originally published here. WATCH: Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearing on incarceration practices during COVID-19 The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing June 2 on incarceration practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the hearing live in the video player above. Dr. Scott Allen testified as a witness on the health risks posed to prisoners, immigrants, workers, and the public from the spread of COVID-19, [...]

ABC News: Doctor Who Advised Homeland Security Testifies Against COVID-19 Protocols in Immigration Detention

Note: this article, featuring our client Dr. Scott Allen and our Senior Counsel Dana Gold, was originally published here. Doctor Who Advised Homeland Security Testifies Against COVID-19 Protocols in Immigration Detention Dr. Scott Allen rebuked the administration over detention center conditions. A doctor contracted by the Department of Homeland Security to advise on detention health conditions appeared before Congress on Tuesday to personally criticize the Trump administration as COVID-19 continues to spread through civil immigration detention centers. Dr. Scott Allen, [...]

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on ICE and Prison Detention

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2020 Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on ICE and Prison Detention Government Accountability Project Client Testifies About Dangers During Pandemic WASHINGTON - Tomorrow, June 2, at 10:00 am, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing titled “Examining Best Practices for Incarceration and Detention During COVID-19.” Government Accountability Project client Dr. Scott Allen will testify as a witness on the health risks posed to prisoners, immigrants, workers, and [...]

Current Clients 

Dr. Scott Allen and Dr. Pamela McPherson

Dr. Scott Allen and Dr. Pamela McPherson In July 2018, Government Accountability Project clients Dr. Scott Allen and Dr. Pamela McPherson, medical and mental health subject matter experts for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS/CRCL), made the brave decision to blow the whistle on the government’s child detention practices. Through their disclosures, they sought to prevent the ongoing risk of harm to children and families posed [...]

Ellen Gallagher

Ellen Gallagher Ellen Gallagher is a former policy adviser at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS-CRCL) and current employee at DHS’ Office of the Inspector General. She has blown the whistle on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) use of solitary confinement on mentally ill and medically vulnerable adults across the 200+ immigration detention facilities in clear violation of federal laws and detention standards. Gallagher first reported her [...]

Doug Stephens

Doug Stephens Doug Stephens is a former Asylum Officer who resigned from USCIS in August 2019. He worked as an Asylum Officer in the San Francisco Aslyum ffice from September 2017 until August 31, 2019. Prior to his service in the asylum corps, he was a Deaprtment of Justice (DOJ) staff attorney for the San Francisco Immigration Court from September 2015 to September 2017. While at the Immigration Court, he reviewed 195 cases [...]

Brandon Coleman

Brandon Coleman A Marine Corps veteran and Addiction Therapist for the Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Brandon Coleman witnessed a variety of improper and possibly unlawful practices. In 2014, Coleman disclosed to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that suicidal veterans had been neglected, and left to walk out of the VA hospital without proper care. Following his disclosure, Coleman learned that his own medical records had been illegally accessed by a [...]

Robert MacLean

Robert MacLean In 2003, Federal Air Marshal Robert MacLean learned that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was planning to make up for budget shortfalls by temporarily canceling long-distance air marshall coverage, including during a known threat on the anniversary of 9/11. MacLean brought his concerns to a supervisor and three DHS Office of Inspector General field offices, but they all declined to act and told him to drop the issue. With no other [...]