FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 11, 2022
Whistleblowers’ Complaints Reveal Further Abuse of Authority, Violations of Law and Ethics Rules at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
New disclosures reveal additional abuses committed by former OSTP Director Eric Lander disclosed by whistleblower Rachel Wallace and other staff to the White House
WASHINGTON—Government Accountability Project has just disclosed, in a 17-page letter to Congressional oversight committees and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, additional information from whistleblowers about misconduct by former cabinet member Dr. Eric Lander and senior managers at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). On February 7, 2022, information from whistleblowers first revealed by Politico about the toxic workplace environment at OSTP caused Director Lander to resign.
Today’s protected whistleblower disclosure is on behalf of Government Accountability Project clients Rachel Wallace, who served as OSTP’s General Counsel and chief ethics officer, and other OSTP staff who wish to remain anonymous. The letter details Director Lander’s repeated violations of laws, rules and regulations involving overstepping of his authority and conflicts of interest. It also details the retaliation Ms. Wallace and other OSTP staff members suffered after expressing concerns about these abuses.
Among the disclosure’s details:
- During his 12 months as OSTP Director nominee and appointee, Dr. Lander and other senior managers were repeatedly advised they were violating or were about to violate ethics laws, rules and regulations; the advice was often ignored.
- Ms. Wallace and other providers of such advice were illegally retaliated against; for instance, Wallace was ostracized, her job duties were taken away and she was demoted;
- There were at least 15 abuse victims—over 10 percent of OSTP’s workforce—and the vast majority were women;
- The White House’s investigation of the many reports by Ms. Wallace and others about the Director’s misconduct needlessly moved at a snail’s pace. One year passed from the first reports to the Director’s resignation;
- Other senior managers still at OSTP have yet to be held accountable. Some assisted. Some emulated. Some tuned out. Some who knew better did nothing;
- The retaliation suffered by Ms. Wallace and other staff has yet to be remediated or reversed. The damage to the integrity and reputation of this vital office continues.
Government Accountability Project attorneys David Seide and Dana Gold wrote:
“This case is very disturbing. Ethics violations were rampant; retaliation was ever-present. It proves toxic workplaces are nonpartisan. We urge you to promptly investigate.”
Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (202) 926-3304
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.