Sunday Offers Palate of Workshops; Monday Plenary Session Starts Hill Events

(Washington, D.C.) – This year’s annual Washington , D.C. whistleblower gathering and conference, the National Whistleblower Assembly (NWA), begins this Sunday, March 8, with events running throughout Wednesday, March 11. Sunday’s day-long events, being held at the UDC School of Law, will consist of a palate of workshops, panel discussions, and “street law” legal education sessions. That day will also feature speeches by noted whistleblowers Coleen Rowley and Dr. Jeffrey Wigand. These events will be followed by Monday morning’s kickoff event at Congress, a plenary session aimed at raising awareness about pending federal whistleblower protection legislation. Last month, legislation that would have granted federal employees involved with stimulus funds the right to blow the whistle on uncovered wrongdoing, waste and fraud, were stripped out of the House-Senate conference committee that reconciled the $787 billion “Stimulus Bill.”

Click here for a full list and updated schedule of events for NWA:

Sunday Events

Sunday’s program features a breadth of topics geared toward educating and matchmaking whistleblowers and NGOs for partnerships to reinforce each others’ efforts. These programs will be held at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, primarily within Building 39. The day is rife with numerous prominent events of interest to journalists, advocates, and the general public, including the following panels and seminars:

  • Protecting Food Integrity: The role of whistleblowing in assuring the safety of the nation’s food supply.
  • Obama’s FDA: Details the top priorities for reform at the FDA, what organizations are doing to make change, and how concerned citizens can get involved.
  • Whistleblowing in the Federal Aviation Administration: Describes a newly formed FAA advocacy group comprised of whistleblowers, providing examples of FAA whistleblower cases currently in process.
  • National Security Rights and Whistleblowers: Panel discussing the urgent need to push Congress to enact whistleblower protections for national security employees. Panel includes key national security whistleblowers. (This program will be help in Building 38).
  • Using OSHA Laws to Remedy Retaliation: Provides an overview of the whistleblower laws administered by OSHA in the areas of environmental, transportation, financial and workplace safety whistleblowing.
  • How to Navigate the Office of Special Counsel: Details how to effectively utilize the Office of Special Counsel, the government agency charged with protecting federal whistleblowers.
  • On Sunday, speakers during the events will include Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, tobacco industry whistleblower and subject of The Insider, and Coleen Rowley, FBI Whistleblower and Time’s Co-Person of the Year for 2002.

Monday Plenary Session

Kicking off a three-day series of events on the Hill is Monday morning’s plenary session – a gathering devoted to lobbying Congress for the swift passage of ‘best practices’ federal whistleblower rights. This will take place at 2154 Rayburn House Office Building . Speakers include:

  • Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who will provide a keynote address
  • Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
  • Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen, who will be presented with a lifetime achievement award.

Click here for a full list and updated schedule of events:

Individual co-sponsors of the NWA include GAP, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Public Citizen, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), National Whistleblowers Center (NWC), the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC-DCSL), and the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW).

The NWA has four cornerstone objectives:

  • Matching whistleblowers to those who should benefit from their dissent, such as NGO’s, investigative journalists and government investigators;
  • Lobbying Congress to strengthen key whistleblower protections, including long overdue legislation overhauling the Whistleblower Protection Act [stimulus protections], and comprehensive corporate rights expanding on five precedents in the last Congress;
  • Teaching whistleblowers how to use and act on their rights under new whistleblower laws; and
  • Providing a living history forum where whistleblowers can make a record of why they risked their careers to defend the public, and what happened.

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 non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington , D.C.