FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 8, 2022
OSTP Director Resigns After Whistleblower Speaks Out on Toxic Workplace Culture
Government Accountability Project represents OSTP COO and Deputy Counsel Rachel Wallace, who bravely blew the whistle on Eric Lander’s misconduct.
WASHINGTON – Eric Lander, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) director and President Biden’s cabinet-level science advisor, resigned last night following reports that a White House internal investigation found he “bullied and demeaned his subordinates and violated the White House’s workplace policy.”
Government Accountability Project represents federal whistleblower Rachel Wallace, one of several OSTP employees who repeatedly raised concerns about Director Lander’s misconduct. Ms. Wallace is a career civil servant who has worked as an attorney at OSTP through both the Obama and Trump administrations and served as general counsel until she was removed from that position after raising legal and management concerns. Ms. Wallace told Politico that Dr. Lander “retaliated against staff for speaking out and asking questions by calling them names, disparaging them, embarrassing them in front of their peers, laughing at them, shunning them, taking away their duties, and replacing them or driving them out of the agency.”
After making protected whistleblower disclosures, Ms. Wallace was retaliated against. A public response was not made by the White House until employees bravely spoke out, risking their careers. Notwithstanding the director’s recent resignation, Ms. Wallace remains a victim who has not been made whole. And she is not alone; Government Accountability Project represents other OSTP staff who have been victimized. Accountability extends beyond Eric Lander as additional Government Accountability Project disclosures will show.
OSTP plays a critical role in setting policy and funding priorities for all federal science and technology initiatives and responds to global threats such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change; and, most recently, President Biden’s Moonshot Cancer Initiative. Its employees have the right to be safe and protected, and we encourage further investigation.
Dana Gold, Government Accountability Project Senior Counsel and one of the attorneys for Ms. Wallace stated:
“We applaud Rachel’s courage. She made every effort to timely address the director’s toxic, chronic hostility toward career staff and its grave implications for the integrity of OSTP and for all of federal science. That it took her speaking on the record with the press to prompt attention to Dr. Lander’s behavior is deeply concerning. The culture and mechanisms that enabled Director Lander to create a hostile work environment and mistreat staff without check also need to be addressed. We will be supporting Ms. Wallace and others in their ongoing effort to fully report the problems at OSTP in the coming days and weeks.”
Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 926-3304
Government Accountability Project
Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.