Advocacy by Government Accountability Project Leads to Major Win for Whistleblowers

WASHINGTON—In a major win for government whistleblowers, Congress approved the creation of an Office of the Whistleblower Ombudsman as part the resolution adopting the House Rules for the 116th Congress.

Among other duties, the Whistleblower Ombudsman will be responsible for the provision of “best practices for whistleblower intake for offices of the House” and “training for offices of the House on whistleblower intake.”

Samantha Feinstein, Government Accountability Project’s Senior Legal and International Analyst who testified last year before Congress to request the creation of the Ombudsman Office expressed her gratitude for Congress’s bipartisan support for this initiative.

“The reason Congress created this Office was to address common inadvertent mistakes made by untrained congressional staffers who sometimes, despite good faith attempts to help whistleblowers, mishandle their disclosures thereby increasing the likelihood of retaliation or misdirected communications,” Feinstein said. “This major step in securing whistleblowers’ rights would not have been possible without the efforts of Government Accountability Project, leadership of the Make It Safe Coalition, Demand Progress, the House Whistleblower Protection Caucus, and Rep. Jackie Speier.”

The creation of the Office received widespread bipartisan support following the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) review in 2018 of congressional communications with whistleblowers. Congress requested the GAO report as a result of Feinstein’s testimony before the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee early last year.

Contact: Samantha Feinstein, Senior Legal and International Analyst
Phone: 202-457-0034 ext. 162


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