Government Accountability2020-09-03T13:12:27-04:00

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

Vox: The outcry over ICE and hysterectomies, explained

The outcry over ICE and hysterectomies, explained This article features our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is facing allegations that women detained at one of the agency’s facilities in Ocilla, Georgia, underwent unnecessary gynecological procedures, including hysterectomies. The allegations began with a nurse, Dawn Wooten, who filed a whistleblower complaint on Monday that cited concerns about a seemingly high number of hysterectomies performed on immigrants detained at the facility. [...]

NBC News: ‘Mass hysterectomies’ at ICE happened on Trump’s watch. But they’re America’s problem.

'Mass hysterectomies' at ICE happened on Trump's watch. But they're America's problem. This article features our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here. On Tuesday evening, a harrowing report surfaced after a nurse in Georgia, Dawn Wooten, accused Immigrant and Customs Enforcement officials at the Irwin County Detention Center of denying detainees there essential health care and sending women to a doctor who allegedly performed unnecessary “mass hysterectomies.” “I had several detained women on numerous occasions [...]

Episcopal News Service: Priest details inhumane conditions at private prison in Georgia where whistleblower reported medical abuse

Priest details inhumane conditions at private prison in Georgia where whistleblower reported medical abuse This article features our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here. A priest who works to support immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a private facility in Georgia says a whistleblower’s account of medical abuse there – including hysterectomies performed without proper consent – is supported by her own interactions with the detainees. The Rev. Leeann Culbreath, a priest [...]

The New York Times: Inquiry Ordered Into Claims Immigrants Had Unwanted Gynecology Procedures

Inquiry Ordered Into Claims Immigrants Had Unwanted Gynecology Procedures This article features our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here. The Department of Homeland Security is investigating allegations that immigrant women detained at a privately run detention center in Georgia underwent gynecological procedures without fully understanding or consenting to them. The allegations, some of which were submitted this week as part of a whistle-blower complaint by a nurse at the facility, already have prompted more than 170 [...]

POPSUGAR: A former ICE Nurse Speaks Out About Alarming Hysterectomies, Alleged COVID-19 Coverups

A Former ICE Nurse Speaks Out About Alarming Hysterectomies, Alleged COVID-19 Coverups This article features our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here. A former nurse at an immigration detention center Ocilla, GA, is speaking out about the "jarring medical neglect" allegedly taking place within its walls, including an alarming rate of hysterectomies and what she describes as a total disregard for the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). After leaving the Irwin County [...]

Business Insider: A whistleblower complaint alleging hysterectomies being performed on women from an ICE detention center recalls the ugly history of forced sterilization in the US

A whistleblower complaint alleging hysterectomies being performed on women from an ICE detention center recalls the ugly history of forced sterilization in the US n This article features our client Dawn Wooten and was originally published here. A nurse alleged that women had their wombs partially or entirely removed, while detained at an immigration detention facility in Georgia. She filed a whistleblower complaint, largely focused on COVID-19 precautions, sent by Project South to the Department of Homeland [...]

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 [...]

Government Accountability Project and Project South Send Letter to Congress on Behalf of Whistleblower Client

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17th, 2020 Government Accountability Project and Project South Send Letter to Congress on Behalf of Whistleblower Client WASHINGTON—Today, Government Accountability Project and Project South sent a letter to Congress outlining the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General complaint from client and whistleblower, Ms. Dawn Wooten, LPN, regarding the egregious health practices at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia. Her allegations encompass a variety of health and safety violations, [...]