Award Reception, TEDx Salon and Panels to Feature GAP Whistleblowers Robert MacLean, John Crane and Brandon Coleman

(WASHINGTON) – On July 28, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) will host two panel discussions as part of the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights. The first panel will explore remaining whistleblower loopholes to address in the next Congress. The second panel will provide an analysis of the Office of Special Counsel, the primary agency that protects employers from whistleblower reprisal. In the evening an awards reception will be held to honor the establishment of the Senate and House Whistleblower Protection Caucuses. On July 30, National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, GAP co-founder and president Louis Clark and co-founder and legal director Tom Devine will participate in the TEDx Wilmington Salon, Whistleblowers and the First Amendment. Event details can be found below.

These events will take place in honor of National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, which was introduced by the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus and established by a U.S. Senate resolution in order to acknowledge and commemorate the contributions of whistleblowers in combating waste, fraud, abuse, and violations of laws, and to inform workers and the public about the legal rights of U.S. citizens to blow the whistle.

The Whistleblower Summit is hosted by ACORN8 and will run from July 27 through July 29. A full schedule of events can be found at

The TEDx Salon will take place on July 30, National Whistleblower Appreciation Day. It will be held at the Historic Wilmington Public Library, 10 E. 10th St., Wilmington, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Additional information can be found at

Panel Information

Whistleblower Legislative Campaigns: Closing the Loopholes in the 115th Congress
July 28th, 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Stewart E. Mott House, 122 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002

This panel will preview legislative campaigns in the 115th Congress to fill the remaining gaps in whistleblower protections. Panelists will discuss the greatest threats to courageous truth-tellers, from the rise in retaliatory investigations to the urgent need for jury trial access under Whistleblower Protection Act to challenge government abuses. They will also examine legislation to address retaliation within Offices of Inspectors General, the Intelligence Community, the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Panelists include –

Tom Devine, Legal Director, Government Accountability Project (Moderator)
Brandon Coleman, Whistleblower, Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs
John Crane, Whistleblower, Office of Inspector General, Department of Defense
Matthew Fogg, National 1st Vice President, Blacks In Government
Emily Gardner, Worker and Safety Advocate, Public Citizen
Benjamin Strickland, Executive Vice President, Alliance For Whistleblowers

The Office of Special Counsel: Past, Present and Future Analysis
July 28th, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Stewart E. Mott House, 122 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002

This panel will examine the significant progress that the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has made under the leadership of the current Special Counsel, upcoming challenges, as well as pending legislation to reauthorize the OSC and additional areas for reform. Panelists include –

Shanna Devine, Legislative Director, Government Accountability Project (Moderator)
Brandon Coleman, Whistleblower, Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs
Tom Devine, Legal Director, Government Accountability Project
Robert MacLean, Whistleblower, Dept. of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration
Adam Miles, Deputy Special Counsel for Policy and Congressional Affairs, Office of Special Counsel

Awards Reception to Honor the Senate and House Whistleblower Protection Caucuses
July 28th, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Stewart E. Mott House, 122 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20002
*Hosted by the Government Accountability Project, Project On Government Oversight, Public Citizen

GAP Whistleblower Descriptions

  • Brandon Coleman is a United States Marine Corps veteran and proud employee of the VA for the past 9 years. In December 2014 Mr. Coleman came forward to the Office of Special Counsel disclosing that the Phoenix VA hospital was not properly monitoring suicidal veterans and was improperly allowing other employees to peruse his HIPAA protected Veteran medical treatment records. After his disclosure the Phoenix VA attempted to illegally remove Mr. Coleman from federal employment and sent him home for over 17 months of paid leave, even investigating him for allegedly threatening co workers. Mr. Coleman fought back and met with VA Secretary Robert McDonald as well as testified before the Senate regarding Whistleblower Retaliation on Sept 22, 2015. With the help of many members of Congress, the national press, the OSC and the Government Accountability Project he was able to successfully settle his case and gain reinstatement at a VA facility outside of Phoenix and get back to helping our nation’s heroes.
  • John Crane has been a public servant for over 30 years, before his February 2013 resignation from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Inspector General (OIG). Mr. Crane was forced to resign, due to his whistleblowing disclosures against systematic betrayal of the OIG’s mission by Acting Inspector General Lynn Halbrooks and OIG General Counsel Henry Shelley. Initially Mr. Crane worked as a congressional staffer for the House Armed Services Committee. He later moved to the Pentagon OIG, where he served for some 25 years under 11 Inspectors General. He is credited as for policies that previously made the Pentagon OIG the gold standard for government whistleblowers. He led efforts to create whistleblowing rights for intelligence community employees, and helped establish a Department of Defense internal whistleblower program. When he resigned, he was the Assistant Inspector General for Communications, and Congressional Liaison for the Department of Defense (DOD IG). He was also the supervisor for the Director of Whistleblowing and Transparency, and served as the DOD Ombudsman for Whistleblowing.
  • Robert MacLean was a federal air marshal who spoke up about the consequences of a dangerous government decision to remove air marshals from long distance flights during a confirmed terrorist alert.  Because he blew the whistle, the government cancelled its plan and a potential tragedy was averted.  But Mr. MacLean paid a hefty price, when he was fired three years later for disclosing an SMS text message retroactively marked as unclassified “sensitive security information” by the Transportation Security Administration. He appealed his termination, and in January 2015 the Supreme Court ruled in MacLean’s favor in a 7-2 decision. Robert was subsequently reinstated in 2015, and he currently lives in Virginia with his wife and three children.

To schedule an interview with Tom Devine, Louis Clark, Brandon Coleman, John Crane, or Robert MacLean, please contact GAP Communications Director Andrew Harman.

Contact: Andrew Harman, GAP Communications Director
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 156

Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.